ICT - China Blocks Dissident's Social Media
China pulled down the social media accounts of a popular property developer after he blogged that state media were funded by taxpayers and should serve them, not the Communist Party. He was reacting to the orders of President Xi Jinping, who earlier this month ordered state media to follow party lines in their reporting - the most explicit instruction to do so made since the rule of Mao Zedong.
"When does the people's government turn into the party's government?" posited Ren Zhiquing last week. "(Are the media) funded by party membership dues? Don’t waste taxpayers' money on things that do not not provide them with services," he asked on the Weibo microblogging site.
The Cyberspace Administration of China slammed the door on Mr. Ren's Weibo account and issued a scathing and somewhat unsettling statement: "Internet users have reported that Ren Zhiqiang's account had been continuously publishing illegal information, and the impact was vile."
This came amid what is seen as Mr. Xi's overall crackdown on expression that has put at least 40 journalists behind bars, according to the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders. Critics say China's net censors frequently block major sites and remove offensive posts.
A real estate worth a reputed US$22 Million, Ren Zhiquing is known for his critical statements of the government and Communist Party, earning the nicknames "the cannon" and "China's Donald Trump" (although Trump is also a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully). It's not the first time Ren has run afoul of China strict controls on speech, but this time he seems to be inviting trouble with his direct challenge to the ruling Communist Party, of which he is a member.