The Chinese Communist Party "Big cannon" is accused of embezzlement and graft. He faces the death penalty for a year in prison. Banned by the Party for calling Xi Jinping a "power hungry clown". He is considered the most important and resolute exponent of a group that wants to introduce constitutional democracy in China.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The trial of dissident billionaire Ren Zhiqiang on charges of corruption opens tomorrow. The news was announced yesterday by the second Intermediate People's Court of the capital. Ren, nicknamed the "party Big cannon" for his attacks on the leadership, is accused of appropriation of public funds, abuse of office and of power. Offenses that he would have committed as a manager of a state-owned enterprise.
The tycoon disappeared from circulation on 12 March. According to his family, he has not yet been able to meet his lawyers. The penalty for the crimes he is accused of ranges from one year in prison to the death sentence (usually commuted to life imprisonment): it is rare for a person with such charges to be acquitted in China.
Ren, a member of the Communist Party of China (CCP), belongs to an important family of revolutionary leaders. In the past, he led a large state-owned construction company (Huayuan Real Estate Group). Shortly before his disappearance, he had risen to prominence for publishing an article on the web in which he spoke of the "power hungry clown" Xi Jinping. Without ever naming him, but calling him "the emperor", the tycoon criticized the Chinese president for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the conflicts with the US and those with Taiwan.
As a result, Ren was banned by the Party in August. The CCP Disciplinary Commission investigated him for violating the "four cardinal principles", the theoretical basis on which the undisputed leadership of the Party is based, and for having damaged the image of the regime.
For friends and observers, the charges of embezzlement and graft are an excuse to damage Ren's standing. Cai Xia, a former teacher of the Central Party School, expelled from the CCP on 17 August for attacking Xi and defending Ren, has said the billionaire is the most important and resolute member of a group that wants to introduce constitutional democracy in China.