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A local Beijing Communist Party committee is considering action against outspoken tycoon Ren Zhiqiang, warning other party members to toe the disciplinary line.

The decision came after Ren, a retired property

developer and a long-time “outstanding party member”, directly questioned President Xi Jinping’s demand that state media pledge “absolute loyalty” to the party.

The comments were made on Ren’s microblogging accounts, which were closed down on the weekend.

The party committee of Beijing’s Xicheng district said on its microblog on Monday night that Ren would be “dealt with seriously” for his blatantly critical postings on social media.

“As a Communist Party member, Ren has constantly published illegal information and wrong remarks that generated vile influence, seriously damaging the party’s image,” it said.

“As a party member, any remark that does not accord with the party’s lines, principles and policies, whether it’s on the internet or other media platforms, is not allowed under party discipline.”

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Party-run media have also stepped up criticism of influential online commentators, accusing some of colluding with “Western anti-China forces”.

An article posted on Sunday on Dangjian.com, a website linked to the central party committee’s propaganda department, also accused Ren and other critical “Big Vs” – or high-profile bloggers – of “opposing fundamental principles confirmed by the constitution”.

The article applauded the regulator’s decision to shut down the microblog accounts of Ren and a few other Big Vs, such as actress Sun Haiying and Beijing-based urban planning expert Luo Yameng. It said the commentators had “abused their own influence to attack the party and the government” and “damaged the honour and interests of the country by starting and spreading rumours to disrupt social order”.

“A few ... Big Vs have prospered thanks to the party and the country’s policies ... But instead of showing gratitude to society, they turn and attack the social system that has given them development and prosperity,” the post said.

READ MORE: Communist Party professor supports tycoon’s right to criticise Beijing’s policies

“Some have even smashed the Communist Party’s cooking pots after eating the Communist Party’s food. They colluded with Western anti-China forces and became the ‘pot-smashing party’, the ‘leading-the-way party’ and the ‘US-cent party’,” it said, using terms often deployed by leftists against liberal social media users.

“Leading-the-way party” refers to people who would betray China in a conflict by showing the US Army the way to find and destroy its targets. The “US-cent party” implies a person has been paid by the United States’ government to post comments online critical of the Chinese regime.

Other state media, such as Xinhua and state broadcaster CCTV, also applauded the punishment of Ren and recounted his “wrongdoings”.