China’s ruling Communist Party says a former chairman of a state-owned real estate company who publicly criticized President Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been expelled from the party and will be prosecuted on corruption charges
The former chairman of a state-owned real estate company who publicly criticized President Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been expelled from the ruling Communist Party and will be prosecuted on corruption charges, the party announced Friday.
Ren Zhiqiang, who had become known for speaking up about censorship and other sensitive topics, disappeared from public view in March after publishing an essay online that accused Xi of mishandling the outbreak that began in December in the central city of Wuhan.
Ren, 69, is accused of corruption, embezzlement, taking bribes and abusing his position at a state-owned company, the Discipline Inspection Commission of Xicheng District in Beijing said on its website.
The former chairman and deputy party secretary of Huayuan Group was expelled from the ruling party and his case was turned over to prosecutors, the agency said. It gave no details of the offenses.
Xi, who became ruling party leader in 2012, has suppressed criticism, tightened censorship and cracked down on unofficial organizations. Dozens of journalists, labor and human rights activists and others have been imprisoned.
Criticism of the party’s response to the coronavirus focused on its early efforts to conceal information and on propaganda portraying Xi and other leaders as rescuing the China from the disease.