US interview with wanted tycoon stopped

Top News | 21 Apr 2017

Mainland tycoon Guo Wengui says Beijing's agents have ramped up efforts to stop him from "leaking explosive information" after his live interview with the US government-funded Voice of America was cut short.

The program's hosts told viewers that Chinese officials had summoned the media organization's representatives in Beijing to warn them against airing the program and giving Guo - who is suspected of bribing a former top official in China's intelligence service - a platform to air unsubstantiated allegations.

The program came to an abrupt end in 80 minutes, well before the scheduled three hours was up.

As Guo launched into a meandering description of the intrigue and mutual suspicions gripping leaders of the Communist Party, a Voice of America host suddenly halted the broadcast, saying they needed to immediately stop "due to certain kinds of reasons."

Earlier Interpol issued a "red notice" seeking the arrest of Guo, a real estate tycoon who disappeared from public view in 2014 but resurfaced in recent months, dramatically claiming that he held damning information about party elites.

Bill Bishop, a Chinese political watcher who publishes the Sinocism newsletter, said party leaders appear to be increasingly concerned that Guo will reveal information that would cripple high-level officials who are being lined up for key jobs at the party congress this fall.

"A bombshell that screws up the personnel arrangement is exactly the kind of thing that Beijing does not want," Bishop said, adding that Guo's allegations of rampant corruption involving even the top official in charge of the party's anti-graft agency has thoroughly undermined the party's propaganda efforts.

Guo's allegations have highlighted "the real issue that corruption unfortunately appears to be in the DNA" of China's system, Bishop said.

Guo is suspected of giving US$8.8 million (HK$68.64 million) in bribes to Ma Jian, a former deputy head of China's intelligence service who was charged with corruption in February.

Guo did not respond to questions about his relationship with Ma but dismissed the Interpol notice as an ineffectual ploy from the Chinese leadership.


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