A prominent former Chinese property executive who called President Xi Jinping a “clown” over a speech he made last month about the efforts of the government to combat the coronavirus is missing.
Ren Zhiqiang, an executive in retirement real estate, has never been shy about expressing his feelings with people in control. In reality, last month he called Xi, one of the most influential leaders in modern history in China, a “clown” and slammed attempts by the government to curb COVID-19.
In recent weeks, an essay Ren shared with friends directed at a speech Xi made on Feb. 23. According to the China Digital Times, a U.S.-based website, Ren told friends that he “saw not an emperor standing there wearing his’ new clothes,’ but a clown stripped naked who insisted he continued to be emperor.”
Many of our friends are searching for him,’ said his close friend and businesswoman Wang Ying, describing them as’ highly nervous’ in a statement to Reuters.
Ren Zhiqiang is a public figure, and is well known for his disappearance. The entities responsible for this need to provide as soon as possible a fair and legal explanation for this,’.
He also cited a “governance crisis” within the Communist Party and indicated the lack of a free press and free speech in Beijing has helped suppress vital information about the virus that has turned into a global pandemic and claimed the lives of 6,470 people worldwide. In China 3,192 deaths were reported.
Police in Beijing did not respond immediately to requests by telephone and fax for comment. The State Council Information Office of China did not respond immediately to a request for comment by fax.
In 2016, officials from the Chinese Communist Party placed Ren, who is a member of the party, on a one year probation after questioning Xi’s policies.
The Communist Party at the time said Ren had “lost his party spirit.” Foreign affairs expert Gordon Chang believes Ren’s disappearance could indicate in-fighting at the Community Party’s top levels.
The government ordered sites like the Twitter-like Weibo that year to shut down Ren’s social media accounts, which at the time had more than 30 million online followers, claiming he’d been’ spreading illegal material.’
Beijing has described the fight against coronavirus as a Xi-led’ People’s War.’
Calls to Ren’s cell phone also went unanswered.