A Chinese billionaire who criticized President Xi Jinping's in tackling coronavirus situation has been officially placed under investigation, Beijing authorities said in a brief statement Tuesday.
The retired real-estate tycoon Ren Zhiqiang, himself is a former top Communist Party member who faces allegations of committing "serious violations" of the law and Communist Party regulations, a favored euphemism for corruption, reports CNN.
The statement did not give any other details about the allegations against Ren but it is quite clear why he has been subjugated with this accusation. Ren has been an outspoken and critique of the current political system of his own party let alone President Xi Jinping.
Ren wrote an article against Xi's response to handle the deadly situation in China. He indirectly mentioned Xi as a "clown".
"I saw not an emperor standing there exhibiting his 'new clothes,' but a clown who stripped off his clothes and insisted on continuing being an emperor," he said.
The billionaire went on to accuse the Communist Party of putting its own interests above the safety of the Chinese people, to secure its rule.
"Without a media representing the interests of the people by publishing the actual facts, the people's lives are being ravaged by both the virus and the major illness of the system," he said.
Ren's outspoken nature has earned him the title of "The Cannon" on Chinese social media.
This is not the first time Ren has got into trouble with the party's discipline watchdog for speaking his mind.
In 2016, he was disciplined after questioning on social media Xi's demands that Chinese state media must stay absolutely loyal to the party. He was put on a year's probation for his party membership and his wildly popular account on Weibo, China's Twitter like platform, was shuttered.