Silencing ‘The Cannon,’ a social media phenom

Social media made him a star. He is a real estate mogul whose followers believe he speaks truth to power. As a result of his outspoken anti-establishment political posture and popularity, his party wants to shut him down.

He is, of course, “The Cannon.” Never heard of him? He is the man with 37 million social media followers on Sina Weibo – China’s top microblogging site – and the country’s ruling Communist Party just took him on by taking him offline.

The Cannon is Ren Zhiqiang’s nickname and what happens to him next is uncertain, but with such a big and passionate following, it will be difficult to disappear him either quickly or quietly. He is known as The Cannon because of the straight-talk missives he fires at the authorities. Cannon is not alone, however, in finding that speech in China is not free.  Read more.