Publicly criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping on the issue of dealing with the CoronaVirus epidemic has cost a senior Chinese official. Ren Zhiqiang, the former chairman of the government real estate company, has been expelled from the ruling Communist Party. Not only this, he will be prosecuted for corruption charges.
The Communist Party announced this on Friday. Ren Zhiqiang, who has an outspoken opinion about press control (censorship) and other sensitive subjects, has not appeared publicly since publishing an article online in March. In this article, he accused Xi Jinping of not being able to handle the outbreak in Wuhan in December.
The Disciplinary Inspection Commission of Shicheng District in Beijing said on its website that Ren, 69, is accused of corruption, embezzlement, taking bribes and misusing his position in a government-owned company. The agency said the former chairman of the Houyuan Group and deputy secretary of the party have been expelled from the ruling party and their case was referred to the prosecution. He did not provide any details about the crime.
Xi, who became the leader of the ruling party in China in 2012, has acted to suppress criticisms, toughen censorship and crack down on non-official organizations. Dozens of journalists, labor and human rights activists and others have been imprisoned.