A Beijing court on Tuesday found Rehn guilty of multiple charges, including misappropriation of about $ 16.3 million (110.6 million yuan) in public funds, accepting bribes and abuse of power that resulted in a total loss of $ 17.2 million. (116.7 million yuan) for the state-owned property company he once headed.
Judges sentenced him to 18 years in prison and fined him $ 620,000 (4.2 million yuan). The court said he “voluntarily confessed to all his crimes” and “was willing to accept the court’s decision after recovering all his illegal profits”.
Wren’s conviction and heavy sentence appear to have been designed to send a message to other members of the Chinese elite that any public criticism or violation of Xi will not be tolerated as Beijing continues to face the onslaught of the pandemic and faces strong international pressure from Washington and the rest.
Born into the ruling Communist Party elite, the 69-year-old Wren had often talked about Chinese politics far more than is usually allowed in an authoritarian state.
His honesty earned him the nickname “The Cannon” on Chinese social media.
“I did not see an emperor standing there showing off his ‘new clothes’, but a clown taking off his clothes and insisting on continuing to be emperor,” Rehn reportedly wrote about Hee’s address to 170,000 officials across the country. country in a mass teleconference measures to control the epidemic on 23 February.
The essay went on to accuse the Communist Party of putting its own interests above the security of the Chinese people to ensure its rule.
“Without media that represent the interests of the people by publishing the facts, people’s lives are being destroyed by both the virus and the great disease of the system,” Rehn was quoted as saying.
This is not the first time Rehn has left the Chinese leadership to speak.
In 2016, he was disciplined after a social media interrogation of Xi’s demands that the Chinese state media must remain fully loyal to the party. He was put on trial for a year for joining his party, and his hugely popular Weibo account, which resembles China’s Twitter platform, was shut down.
This time, however, there does not seem to be a second chance for Rehn. If he serves his full sentence, he will be in the late 1980s by the time he is released.
CNN’s James Griffiths, Nectar Gan and Ben Westcott contributed to the report.