Outspoken billionaire Sun Dawu jailed for 18 years in China
Prominent Chinese billionaire Sun Dawu has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. Dawu runs one of the largest private agricultural businesses in China, located in the northern province of Hebei. Sun is outspoken on human rights and controversial topics deemed politically sensitive. Dawu was found guilty of provoking trouble, a charge often used against activists to prevent any dissent. Dawu was also charged with illegally occupying farmland, assembling a crowd to attack state agencies and obstruction of government workers. Dawu will also have to pay a fine of 3.11 million yuan, roughly $478,697.
Dawu boasts ownership over one of China’s biggest companies, consisting of businesses ranging from meat processing to pet food, to schools and hospitals. He was detained last year alongside 20 of his relatives and business associates due to a land dispute with a government-owned farm. Dawu claimed that dozens of his employees were injured in an incident by police related to the dispute. He has also fostered close relationships with some high-profile Chinese political dissidents and has criticized several of the government’s policies.