The Buzz | China: Former SOE chairman Ren sentenced to 18 years in graft case

The former chairman of a state-owned real estate company was sentenced to 18 years in prison yesterday on corruption charges, a court announced.
Ren Zhiqiang, who became known for speaking up about censorship and other sensitive topics, disappeared from public view in March after publishing an essay online that accused Xi Jinping’s government of mishandling the coronavirus outbreak that began in December in Wuhan.
Ren, 69, was convicted of corruption, bribery, embezzlement of public funds and abuse of power, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court announced on its social media account. It cited Ren as saying he wouldn’t appeal.
The former chairman and deputy party secretary of Huayuan Group was expelled from the ruling party in July.
In a commentary that circulated on social media, Ren criticized a Feb. 23 video conference with 170,000 officials held early in the pandemic at which Xi announced orders for responding to the disease.
Ren didn’t mention Xi’s name but said, “standing there was not an emperor showing off his new clothes but a clown who had stripped off his clothes and insisted on being an emperor.”

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