As China Reins In Private Sector, Another Businessman Gets 18 Years

The sentence for Sun Dawu, a prominent rural tycoon, is the latest harsh penalty doled out against outspoken business leaders.

Paul Mozur

By Paul MozurJuly 28, 2021Updated 2:38 p.m. ET

Sun Dawu, a rural tycoon and outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party, was sentenced to 18 years in prison Wednesday, the latest in a string of harsh punishments meted out by China against business leaders.

The 67-year-old Mr. Sun had been detained in November after a land dispute between his company, Dawu Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Group, and a neighboring state-owned farm. Prosecuted in a trial closed to the public alongside 19 family members and employees, Mr. Sun was convicted of a range of crimes, including organizing people to attack state agencies, obstructing public affairs and provoking quarrels.