Billionaire Guo Wengui wants regime change in Beijing


New York (AFP)

Billionaire Guo Wengui, who is seeking asylum in the United States after accusing officials in his native China of corruption, wants "a change of the regime" in Beijing and the introduction of democracy in the world's most populous country.

"I want to try and to have rule of law, I want to try and have democracy, freedom, that's my ultimate goal... A change of the regime," he told AFP in a recent exclusive interview from his luxurious New York apartment facing Central Park.

Guo aims to achieve his goal within three years, he said, helped by a new media platform that he intends to launch before the end of December to expose the flaws of China's Communist regime.

For several months, he has been flooding social networks with accusations of corruption against China's rich and powerful.

He revealed an unexpected ally in his corner -- Steve Bannon, US President Donald Trump's former strategist who has called for Washington to wage "economic war" with China.

Guo said he has met ten times with Bannon, the one-time Goldman Sachs investment banker and head of influential ultraconservative outlet Breitbart News.

"He is one of the best international political experts I have ever seen. Mr Bannon is one of the very few Westerners who really understands Asia," said Guo, who gives his age as 47 despite uncertainty about his birthdate due to the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution in China at the time.

His Twitter account, which has nearly 480,000 people, has been repeatedly blocked since China's Communist Party congress in October, he said.

"I have money, you know this, lots of money prepared for this," Guo said of his new platform which he has been discussing with Bannon.

In the interview, Guo confirmed Wall Street Journal reports that he had been visited by Chinese government agents in his apartment in May.

He said the agents had one objective: "They are here to silence me... They want me to stop talking about the corrupt officials in the Chinese government."

"There are more than 100 hours of conversation I have on tape," he said. "For them, it was too big a threat!"

Two of Guo's brothers and many of his former employees have been imprisoned since he fled China in 2014, but he says he feels safe in the United States and is confident he will soon be granted political asylum.

"I have heard multiple sources saying I am totally safe here and my asylum should go through," he said. "One person even told me, 'They will wrap me in an American flag.'"