Following its pledge to more tightly control media, China has shut down microblogging accounts belonging to a real estate mogul and frequent government critic with a large online following.

The Cyberspace Administration of China published on its website on Sunday remarks by a spokesman saying Ren Zhiqiang had published illegal information that harbored "evil influence" and urged other online celebrities to behave as "role models who follow laws and regulations."

Ren pilloried state media outlets last week for hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping, who urged journalists in newsroom visits to focus on "positive news" and "love the party, protect the party."

Ren questioned whether taxpayer money should fund outlets that serve to promote the Communist Party rather than the public, drawing applause as well as backlash from government-affiliated media.