SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng
Outspoken property tycoon Rèn Zhìqiáng 任志强 is the latest critic to write a scathing essay about how the repressive governing style of Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 exacerbated the COVID-19 crisis, and to be silenced. The New York Times says (porous paywall) that after he called Xi a power-hungry “clown,” Ren has gone missing. China Digital Times has a translation of excerpts from Ren’s now-censored essay.
Ren’s habit of speaking his mind about the state of Xi’s China, and in particular the General Secretary’s exhortation for political loyalty from all media in 2016, had previously gotten his Weibo account banned.
“Online enforcers are dragging in hundreds for questioning as an assault on online speech continues,” the New York Times reports. “They are a sign how Beijing has given censors a more punitive role.”
For a recap of coronavirus-related censorship so far in the epidemic, see previous SupChina Access summaries: China to investigate ‘issues’ related to Li Wenliang’s death and China’s COVID-19 response: ‘dilatory at best, willfully negligent at worst’.