Ren Zhiqiang, 54, is a brash, sharp-tongued Chinese real estate mogul who is sometimes likened to Donald Trump. In recent days, he has become the target of a government campaign to discredit him, becoming the focus of a bitter debate about Communist Party control of media and the limits of free speech.
Some observers see the campaign against Ren as an online witch-hunt, and a sign that China’s political atmosphere and public discourse are sliding back to the excesses of the past.
Ren has some 37 million followers on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. And in the latest round of his feud with the government, Ren’s criticism was seen as a direct challenge to President Xi Jinping.
On Feb. 19, Xi toured the party’s main TV broadcaster, news agency and newspaper, before holding a meeting on media with top editors at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
Full article: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/03/01/468573357/in-social-media-battle-real-estate-mogul-takes-on-chinese-government