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Meet Guo Wengui, Steve Bannon’s Chinese-exile friend
ON AUGUST 20TH, shortly after Steve Bannon was arrested aboard a yacht in Lengthy Island Sound in reference to an alleged charity fraud, the proprietor of the yacht, a property developer named Guo Wengui, posted a video on-line intimating that the Chinese language Communist Occasion (CCP) had orchestrated the downfall of the previous White Home adviser. Mr Guo, who fled China in 2014, has established a formidable on-line persona as an outspoken dissident who, in his telling, will deliver down the CCP.
From his 152-foot yacht and his $67.5m penthouse overlooking Central Park, he spins tales of Chinese language elite corruption and purges, styling himself a “CCP terminator”. (Mr Bannon is given the identical nickname.) On June 4th, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Sq. bloodbath in 1989, Messrs Guo and Bannon introduced, aboard the yacht in New York harbour, the founding of “The New Federal State of China”, meant to supplant the Individuals’s Republic.
Mr Guo’s penchant for grandiosity has made it tough to type reality from fiction in his claims. Even his private particulars are laborious to pin down. He’s about 50 and likewise goes by the title Miles Kwok, or Miles Guo, although he’s additionally presumably referred to as Guo Wugui or Guo Haoyun, and he holds as many passports as he has names. (In response to the New York Occasions Journal, he additionally claims by no means to put on the identical underwear twice.) In China he amassed a fortune of $1.1bn, in response to a Forbes estimate in 2015. It isn’t clear how a lot he nonetheless has; each his yacht and his Manhattan condo are on the market.
On his means up Mr Guo befriended Ma Jian, vice-minister of state safety from 2006. He additionally performed a component in bringing down a deputy mayor of Beijing, reportedly with the assistance of a intercourse tape of the official with a mistress. He grew to become an object of fascination to American diplomats in Beijing, who pumped him for political gossip. However Mr Guo fled to America throughout President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption marketing campaign, which might quickly sweep up his friend, Mr Ma.
Chinese language authorities have accused him of a number of crimes, from bribery to sexual assault. He denies any wrongdoing. The Wall Road Journal has reported a number of efforts by Chinese language authorities in 2017 to repatriate Mr Guo; he has utilized for asylum in America. Chinese language state media have attacked him. However some dissidents and sceptics, cautious of his previous ties to Chinese language state safety, don’t belief him, questioning if he works either side (he has dismissed such insinuations). American intelligence is claimed to take heed to his insights—but in addition to maintain him at arm’s size.
That could be sensible. The day earlier than Mr Bannon’s arrest the Journal had reported that an organization he and Mr Guo are concerned in, GTV Media Group, was the topic of a federal investigation into its fundraising. Mr Guo known as the report a fabrication, a part of the CCP’s plot to take Mr Bannon down. However his antics have worn skinny on his hosts. “There can be a whole lot of groans when his title got here up,” says a former Trump administration official. In each Beijing and Washington, it appears. ■
This text appeared in the US part of the print version underneath the headline “Cognitive dissidents”