Chinese property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang reportedly pleaded not guilty at his trial for bribery and abuse of power on Friday — If convicted on all charges, he would most likely face 5-10 years in prison, although he could receive a death sentence.
The corruption charges against Ren came after he wrote an open letter considered insulting to China’s authoritarian president-for-life, Xi Jinping.
According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), proceedings at the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court were as murky as ever, but the few observers permitted through tight security agreed that Ren seems to be headed for prison:
“He didn’t request a defense attorney, but defended himself,” a family member of another dissident told RFA on Friday, adding that there weren’t many places available to family members to sit in the gallery during the trial.
“Ninety-nine percent of the small number of places for family members were taken up