July 23, 2020 / 3:31 PM / 15 days ago

Former Chinese property executive who criticised Xi over virus ousted from ruling party

BEIJING, July 23 (Reuters) - An influential former Chinese property executive and critic of President Xi Jinping has been ousted from China’s ruling Communist party, a notice from the Beijing district government showed Thursday.

Ren Zhiqiang, former chairman of state-controlled property developer Huayuan Real Estate Group, had called Xi a “clown” over a speech he made in February about government efforts to battle the coronavirus.

In a notice on Thursday night, the watchdog said Ren had been ousted from the Chinese Communist Party because he was in “severe violation of discipline and law”.

It accused Ren of “losing faith”, “not being aligned with the party on important matters of principle”, “vilifying the image of party and country” and being disloyal and dishonest to the party. (Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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