A prominent Chinese millionaire Sun Dawu jailed for 18 years in China, the latest in a string of punishments against outspoken corporate bosses.
Sun Dawu owns one of the largest private businesses in the country in the northern province of Hebei.
Sun, 67, had previously spoken on human rights and political issues.
He was found guilty of “conspiracy and disorderly conduct” – a crime often committed by activists.
Other charges include unlawful occupation of farms, mobilization to attack state organs, and obstruction of public services. He was also fined 3.11 million yuan ($ 478,697; £ 343,227).
Sun Company is one of China’s largest companies, with businesses ranging from meat and animal consumption to schools and hospitals.
He was reportedly arrested last year, along with 20 of his relatives and a businessman, over a land dispute with a state-owned farm.
At the time, he said a number of his staff were injured in the incident and police were involved in the dispute, according to an AFP report.
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The Sun is said to be close to some Chinese political opponents and has previously criticized local government policies.
He was one of the few people who openly blamed the government for hiding the African swine flu outbreak, which affected his farms in 2019, and later destroyed the country’s industry.
He was also sentenced to prison in 2003, for “illegal money laundering” but the case was dismissed after the release of support for activists and the public.
Sun reportedly denied many allegations leveled against him during the pre-trial hearing, describing himself as “a prominent member of the Communist Party”.
However, it is reported that he admits that he made mistakes, including sending messages online.
“The way they are investigating me now makes those close to us suffer and those who hate us are happy. I wish to take responsibility for myself, no matter how serious, for the liberation of others.
China has been attacking businessmen and businessmen in the country. Major technology companies including Alibaba, Didi and Tencent are being investigated for various regulatory issues.