Retired real estate mogul and outspoken microblogger Ren Zhiqiang was officially silenced on the Sina and Tencent Weibo platforms yesterday. In Kuang Biao’s cartoon, Ren is the victim of a Mao-era “struggle session.”
Dou Zhiqiang, by Kuang Biao:
In Kuang Biao’s cartoon, Ren wears a dunce cap with his name crossed out, and a sign around his neck that labels him “anti-Party” and “the shame of over 80 million Party members!” In the title of the cartoon, Kuang Biao has given Ren a new surname, Struggle (Dou 斗).
Ren’s recent objection to state media serving the Party rather than the taxpaying public apparently catalyzed the deletion of his accounts. A Baidu search for “Ren Zhiqiang” pulls up pages of criticisms. Wang Dehua wrote at China Youth Daily, for example, that “as a party member, Ren Zhiqiang ought to have a deep understanding of the unity between party spirit and the people’s spirit.”
Not long after Kuang Biao posted this cartoon to WeChat, his own account was deleted. Kuang Biao is well-versed in digital “reincarnation,” having reopened Weibo accounts dozens of times. But according to Xinhua, authorities have pledged that under intensified online management, they “would not allow the users of the closed accounts to register again under another name.”