China’s Communist Party puts tycoon on 1-year probation

By Mahmut Atanur

BEIJING (AA) – The Communist Party of China (CPC) has placed an outspoken former property tycoon on one-year probation over his comments on online platforms and at public occasions, after shutting down his blog account earlier this year.

The CPC committee in Beijing’s Xicheng district released a notice Monday saying that Ren Zhiqiang — known as ‘Cannon Ren’ — had violated the CPC’s political discipline platforms and made comments contravening its basic policies on several occasions.

Probation is the second harshest penalty for such an offense.

In February, the Cyberspace Administration of China closed Ren’s weibo account — which had 37 million followers at the time — after he questioned President Xi Jinping’s words.

Ren resigned from Huayuan Real Estate Group as chairman in 2014.

His forthright views and property baron status have seen him labeled “China’s Donald Trump”, and he has recently become renowned for criticizing CPC and government policies.

On Feb. 19, he criticized state television CCTV on his blog during President Xi’s inspection tour with a banner reading “CCTV’s surname is the Party”.

“When does the people’s government turn into the party’s government? Are the media funded by party membership dues? Don’t waste taxpayers’ money on things that do not provide them with services,” he wrote.