A Chinese billionaire has been sentenced to eighteen years in prison after voicing opposition to the nation’s communist party.
Sun Dawu, the owner of Dawu Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Group, was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” — which, according to BBC, is a charge frequently levied against activists.
The outlet explains:
Other charges against him include illegally occupying farmland, assembling a crowd to attack state agencies and obstructing government workers from performing their duties. He was also fined 3.11 million yuan ($478,697; £343,227).
He was reportedly detained last year, along with 20 relatives and business associates, over a land dispute with a government-run farm… Sun is said to be close to some prominent Chinese political dissidents and has in the past criticised the government’s rural policies. He was one of the few people to openly accuse the government of covering up an African swine flu outbreak, which affected his farms in 2019, and later devastated much of the country’s industry.
He also was sentenced to prison in 2003, for “illegal fundraising” but the case was overturned after an outpouring of support from activists and the public.
Sun reportedly confessed to making mistakes and described himself as an “outstanding communist party member.”
Sun’s sentencing occurs as Chinese authorities crack down on private business activity in the nation. As The Daily Wire reported, government officials have severely limited the nation’s $120 billion private tutoring sector in the interest of reducing costs for families. The nation has also restricted the official use of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the main cause of a $1 trillion liquidation in the global digital asset market.
Beyond Sun, the Chinese Communist Party has been quick to pressure influential citizens into complying with government rule. Alibaba founder Jack Ma — who has a net worth of over $50 billion — disappeared from the public eye after hinting that the government had poorly managed China’s financial system. After news outlets across the world wondered if he had been arrested, a source told CNBC that he was merely “lying low for the time being.”
The Chinese Communist Party has also begun enforcing the Hong Kong National Security Law, which increases penalties for “secession” and “subversion” — effectively removing civil liberties from residents. In a trial without jury earlier this week, a court ruled that a twenty-four-year-old involved in pro-democracy demonstrations was guilty of inciting terrorism.
This article has been revised for clarity.