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Chinese billionaire Ren Zhiqiang, who went ‘missing’ after criticizing Xi Jinping over coronavirus, now faces corruption charges

Last month, Ren had gone "missing" after he wrote a searing article criticising the Chinese government, according to his friends and well-wishers.

Dissident Chinese billionaire Ren Zhiqiang is bearing the brunt of criticising the Chinese premier Xi Jinping over his bungled handling of the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic. The retired real-estate tycoon has been placed under investigation over corruption charges by the Communist Party of China, a statement released by Beijing authorities said on Tuesday.

Without giving much details, the statement accused Ren of committing “serious violations” of the Chinese laws, a favoured tool used by the Communist Party of China to tame the dissenting voices.

A prominent business magnate, Ren is known as “the cannon” for his outspoken demeanour and candid criticism of the authoritarian regime in China. Last month, Ren had gone “missing” after he wrote a searing 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 had 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.

Ren also asked protruding questions of the Chinese government’s culpability on hiding the information about the virus from the world until it was too late for everyone to prepare against it. 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?”

As the scourge of coronavirus sweeps the world, particularly the United States and Europe, China has now found itself at the receiving end of the criticism and blamed for its lackadaisical approach to tame the virus which clearly created conditions for the global pandemic. Of late, China has also been accused by a large number of countries of lowballing by underreporting the actual number of infections and deaths from the coronavirus outbreak which is believed to have started from the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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