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Outspoken ex-real estate tycoon gets 18 years jail

Ren Zhiqiang, an outspoken critic of the sitting Chinese President Xi Jinping has been sentenced to 18 years in jail after a court found him guilty of embezzlement and corruption charges. Zhiqiang is a former real estate tycoon. He will also have to pay a large sum of $620,000 for the charges, which include bribery and embezzlement of public funds, according to a state media outlet.

Zhiqiang disappeared earlier this year in March, just weeks after publishing an essay that was criticized for being too critical of President Xi, however, it never mentioned his name. According to the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court, Zhiqiang was guilty of accepting bribes worth up to 1.25 million and embezzling almost 50 million yuan. The court claims that he confessed to all charges and is not planning on repealing the decision. Pro-democracy groups have spoken out, alleging that the corruption charges were used to keep Zhiqiang quiet on matters involving President Xi.

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