In what can be another incident of Communist government in China silencing dissenting voices, a prominent business tycoon has gone missing after criticising the government over the handling of the Wuhan Coronavirus or the COVID-19 outbreak. Former Real estate tycoon Ren Zhiqiang, who is known as “the cannon” and member of the Communist party but a strong critic of the Xi Jinping led govt, became incommunicado after he wrote a scathing article criticising the Chinese government, according to his friends and well-wishers.
Sharply criticising the govt over its handling of the issue, Ren had written that the people’s lives are being ravaged by both the virus and the major illness of the system. He even called Chinese Premier Xi Jinping a clown, without naming him, saying the media’s attempt to portray him as a hero has no basis. He said, “I too am curiously and conscientiously studying Xi’s speech, but what I saw in it was the complete opposite of the “importance” reported by all types of media and online. I saw not an emperor standing there exhibiting his “new clothes,” but a clown who stripped naked and insisted on continuing being emperor.
Criticising the government for concealing the outbreak of the virus initially, Ren wrote, “trying to cover up the true facts with various “great achievements,” as if this epidemic began with your written instructions on January 7. So, what happened in December? Why wasn’t information made available promptly?”
“Trying to cover up the true facts with various “great achievements,” as if this epidemic began with your written instructions on January 7. So, what happened in December? Why wasn’t information made available promptly?” he added.
According to Overseas democracy activist Han Lianchao said on Twitter that Ren was detained and he is currently being investigated by the Beijing municipal branch of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Commission (CCDI). Citing friends in mainland China, Han said that Ren was detained on Thursday, and is being kept in a suburb of Beijing.
Entrepreneur Wang Ying, a friend of Ren, also posted on WeChat
that Ren Zhiqiang has gone incommunicado. “The disappearance of Ren as a public
figure is known to many. Organisations responsible should say what happened as
soon as possible,” she said.
Ren, a former member of the Beijing Municipal Committee, had been under surveillance for the last four years. In 2016, he had openly challenged Chinese President Xi Jinping’s view that the country’s state media should be aligned to the party. After Ren had posted his comments on Weibo, the Chinese micro-blogging site, his account was blocked and he was put under probation for one year.
As the Coronavirus has spread to more and more countries, the Chinese government has started a propaganda war to portray that it handled the issue well and to hide that it had kept the issue hidden for a substantial period of time. Several articles have appeared in international media praising the Chinese government, grossing over the fact that it is Chinese govt that allowed the virus outbreak to grow without effective control and without informing the world at the right time.