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Chinese tycoon and Xi critic jailed for 18 years on charges of corruption

Beijing: A Chinese tycoon who called President Xi Jinping a jester and criticized for dealing with the coronovirus outbreak was jailed for 18 years on Tuesday on charges of corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public money.
Ren Xikiang once vanished from the public eye in March, amid the inner circle of the ruling Communist Party, soon after penning an essay that responded to Xi’s epidemic.
His assertiveness earned the former president of the state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon”.
Tuesday’s ruling stated that Ren embezzled about 50 million yuan ($ 7.4 million) of public funds and accepted a bribe of 1.25 million yuan. Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court.
It said the 69-year-old “voluntarily and truthfully confessed all his crimes”, and would not appeal the court’s decision.
He was also fined 4.2 million yuan ($ 620,000).
Right campaigners alleged that Xi and the Communist Party have used corruption allegations to keep quiet.
Since Xi came to power in 2012, Beijing has increased its strictness on civil society, curbing freedom of speech and detaining hundreds of activists and lawyers.
Tuesday’s ruling claimed that Ren “misused” his role in the Huayuan Group, causing more than 116 million losses to the state-owned holding company and more than 53 million yuan of assets for the group.
The Communist Party’s disciplinary watchdog launched Ren’s investigation in April, and went on trial in Beijing’s court on 11 September with a handful of supporters and in the presence of heavy police.
One supporter told AFP that he supported Ren because he “dares to speak the truth”.
Ren’s essay, earlier this year, has been scrubbed from China’s Internet – which regularly censors content that challenges authorities – but was shared online outside China.
“The epidemic has revealed the fact that the party and government officials only care about protecting their interests, and the emperor only cares about protecting their interests and original position,” Ren said, without naming Xi Wrote
“An emperor standing up was not showing his new clothes, but a clothed people insisted on being an emperor.”
Reno’s influential blogs such as the Weibo platform on Twitter were discontinued in 2016 by his followers following a call for greater press freedom by the authorities in 2016.
Online responses to Ren’s sentence were also gaining momentum on Tuesday.
A comment on Weibo stated, “The only real estate tycoon who dares to tell the truth in China.”
“He was born in 1951 and is 69 years old this year …. he probably won’t live to see the day he comes out of prison.”
The son of a former deputy commerce minister and a Communist Party member for decades before being expelled in July, Rain was well-connected with party whites.
He writes in his memoir that he was a friend of the vice-president and former anti-corruption chief Wang Kishan since he was a teenager, when Wang was assigned by his school to mentor younger Ren.
He is also a controversial figure, particularly over his defense of China’s soaring house prices – once telling the Chinese media that people who “now deserve to be poor” are not willing to invest in real estate before the boom Were.


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