The Cyberspace Administration of China has blocked the microblogging accounts of Ren Zhiqiang, a former property tycoon, for criticising the state media for their swearing of loyalty to the ruling Communist party. The cyberspace administration published on its website on Sunday that the content posted by Zhiqiang contained illegal information and harboured “evil influence.”
The cyberspace administration also urged other online celebrities to behave in accordance with the rules and regulations and set examples for others.
The 65-year-old real estate magnet became popular in the recent years for daring to challenge the ruling establishment at a time when the political environment of the country is becoming increasingly intolerant towards opposing views. He was known amongst his more than 30 million followers as “Cannon Ren” for his proclivity to opine on topics from neo-liberal economics to housing policy, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the state media to follow the rules in their reporting. Ren had expressed in his writing that the state media was funded by taxpayers and should serve them and not the Communist Party.
China has been criticised several times for infringing rights of the internet users by imposing strict internet regulations, which include blocking sites and censoring posts. The president has argued that countries have the right to decide how to regulate the internet.
According to the advocacy group Reporters Without Border, about 40 journalists in China are behind the bars now for not following the code in their reporting, the BBC reported.
The new rules devised by the Chinese authorities would not allow foreign media companies and foreign joint ventures to distribute content online, without prior permission from the Beijing officials.
Last week, Zhiqiang again criticised the state media for hosting Jinping, who had urged journalists to give more importance to positive news and to “love the party, protect the party and act in the interest of the party.”