Ren Zhiqiang, the property tycoon nicknamed “Big Cannon,” was notorious for his blunt criticisms of the Communist Party, and yet his wealth and political connections long seemed to shield him from severe punishment. Until now.
A court in Beijing sentenced Mr. Ren to 18 years in prison on Tuesday. The court said he was guilty of graft, taking bribes, misusing public funds and abusing his power during and after his time as an executive at a property development company.
Mr. Ren’s supporters and sympathizers said that his real crime was criticizing the Communist Party and calling the country’s hard-line leader,