- Influential business chief was nicknamed ‘Ren the big cannon’ for outspoken attacks on the Communist Party and Xi Jinping’s expansion of power
- Party disciplinary body says he has been expelled and evidence that he used public money for his personal benefit has been handed to prosecutors
Ren Zhiqiang, a prominent real estate tycoon and a vocal critic of the Communist Party leadership, has been expelled from the party and is expected to face criminal charges, Chinese authorities announced late on Thursday.Ren had been at odds with the party’s leadership on “issues of principles” and had published articles against “the Four Cardinal Principles”, a reference to the unchallenged leadership status of the CCP, according to an announcement by the Xicheng district committee of discipline inspection in Beijing.
While Ren’s whereabouts are not known, his friends said that the tycoon was taken away from his sister’s home in Beijing by the party’s anti-graft officials in March.
Despite his party membership, he was a long-standing critic of the CCP, and has earned the nickname “Ren the Big Cannon” for his bold criticism.
His most recent article, circulating on the internet since March, was critical not only of the initial missteps of the government in handling the coronavirus outbreak, but also of the ways Beijing has sought to promote its successes and President Xi Jinping’s expansion of power.