Tycoon ‘betrays vow to Party’

By Kou Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2016-2-26 1:13:01

Response signals CPC members to be discreet: experts

State media have been harshly criticizing a Chinese property mogul for his negative comments about President Xi Jinping's emphasis on Party leadership in Party-run media on February 19, sending a strong signal to Party members with significant social influence to be discreet in their words and deeds, observers said.

Ren Zhiqiang, a retired real estate tycoon and a Party member, said on Sina Weibo on February 19 that the people will be forgotten when all the media follow the Party and do not represent the people's interests, after President Xi underscored the Party's leadership over media run by the Party, reported youth.cn, a news site affiliated to the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China.

In a commentary published on youth.cn's official Sina Weibo account on Thursday, Ren  was criticized for his violation of Party rules and principles and for "betraying" his promise to the Party.

The commentary also suggested that members like Ren should be expelled from the Party.

It is not the first time the outspoken businessman has triggered controversy. In September 2015, Ren argued with the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League on social media, claiming that, "We've been deceived by slogans such as 'we are the successors of communism' for years," news site ifeng.com reported.

As an influential Web celebrity and a Party member, Ren should integrate his two identities, Zhuang Deshui, deputy director of the Research Center for Government Integrity-Building at Peking University, told the Global Times.

It is possible that a public figure may make extreme comments to gain attention, but as a Party member, Ren's words and deeds should be governed by Party rules, Zhuang said.

Other State media have also slammed Ren's latest comments. Qianlong.com, a news portal affiliated to the Communist Party of China Beijing Municipal Committee, criticized Ren in a commentary on Monday, saying "China's media run by the Party should follow the principles of the Party."

The criticism from Party-run media sent out a strong signal that more attention will be paid to remarks made by celebrities who are also Party members, Zhuang said.

"The Party is at a crucial point in strictly disciplining its members and improving its image among the public," Zhuang said.

"State media's criticism of Ren is a response to President Xi's call and is a signal to party members to be careful about their deeds and words as public figures," said Steven Dong, professor at the Communication University of China.

Posted in: Politics

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