90 Miles From Tyranny : As Chinese Lies on Coronavirus Get Exposed, Another Government Critic Vanishes

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

As Chinese Lies on Coronavirus Get Exposed, Another Government Critic Vanishes

Even as the COVID-19 outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, ravages the globe, the Chinese government is trying to shift blame and avoid being held accountable.

According to Reuters, friends of a Chinese real estate mogul who had criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping’s handling of the outbreak say he has now vanished.

Ren Zhiqiang had called Xi, who also serves as general secretary of the Communist Party of China, a “clown” in an essay written after the Chinese leader delivered a speech on Feb. 23.

In the essay, Ren said the current crisis was exacerbated by the lack of a free news media and free speech in China.

“Ren Zhiqiang is a public figure and his disappearance is widely know. The institutions responsible for this need to give a reasonable and legal explanation for this as soon as possible,” Ren’s friend, businesswoman Wang Ying, told Reuters.

Renmin University history professor Zhang Ming, an acquaintance of Ren’s who has also been unable to get in touch with him, expressed similar sentiments.

China has disappeared Ren Zhiqiang
“A citizen can’t just disappear, we need to know if he’s been taken by any department and where. His family and friends should know,” Zhang told the South China Morning Post.

According to Radio Free Asia, this wasn’t Ren’s first run-in with the Chinese government, which is not known for treating its critics particularly well.

He was previously punished over his criticism of Xi’s demands that media outlets serve the interests of China’s ruling communist party.

Despite Ren’s disappearance, the Chinese government is finding it hard to keep reports about its mishandling of the initial outbreak of COVID-19 secret.

The New York Times reported last month that the Chinese government had admitted Xi knew about the emerging pandemic for two weeks before he...

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