Chinese tycoon vanishes after calling Xi a ‘clown,’ slamming government’s handling of COVID-19


An outspoken tycoon who blasted Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party for their abysmal handling of the coronavirus has gone missing, his friends say.

Ren Zhiqiang, a retired real estate executive, has never been shy about sharing his feelings toward people in power. In fact, last month he called Xi, one of China’s most powerful leaders in modern history, a “clown” and slammed the government’s efforts to contain COVID-19.

An essay Ren shared with friends in recent weeks took aim at a speech Xi made on Feb. 23. Ren told friends that he “saw not an emperor standing there exhibiting his ‘new clothes,’ but a clown stripped naked who insisted he continue being emperor,” according to the China Digital Times, a U.S.-based website.

In this photo taken Dec. 3, 2012, Chinese real estate mogul Ren Zhiqiang poses for photos in his office in Beijing, China. Following its pledge to more tightly control media, Chinese authorities shut down microblogging accounts belonging to a real estate mogul and frequent government critic after he lambasted state media organs for swearing fealty to the ruling Communist Party. (Color China Photo via AP)

Ren also cited a “crisis of governance” within the Communist Party and suggested Beijing’s lack of a free press and free speech has helped suppress vital information about the virus which has morphed into a global pandemic and claimed the lives of 6,470 people worldwide. In China, there have been 3,192 reported deaths.

Ren’s close confidant, Wang Ying, told Reuters no one has been able to contact Ren since March 12.

“Ren Zhiqiang is a public figure and his disappearance is widely known,” she said. “The institutions responsible for this need to give a reasonable and legal explanation for this as soon as possible.” – READ MORE

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