Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui accuses Beijing of meddling in interview

Guo Wengui is an outspoken critic of the Chinese government.
Guo Wengui is an outspoken critic of the Chinese government.PHOTO: TWITTER/GUO WENGUI

BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese property tycoon on Thursday (April 20) accused Beijing of meddling in an interview with a United States broadcaster during which he had vowed to air corruption allegations against high-ranking Communist Party officials.

Guo Wengui, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, was one-third of the way through a three-hour interview when Voice of America (VOA) abruptly stopped its live stream on YouTube with no explanation.

The billionaire, who has lived abroad since leaving China two years ago, had said he planned to reveal the business ties of Chinese leaders.

"Pressure from various aspects caused Voice of America to suddenly cut off the programme," Guo said in a video posted on Twitter.

"Moving forward, my expose will continue. I will release relevant documents... everything is just getting started."

Wednesday's interview came as China confirmed Interpol had issued a "red notice" for Guo, who is reportedly suspected of paying 60 million yuan (S$12.2 million) in bribes to disgraced former Chinese state security vice-minister Ma Jian, with whom he has been linked.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang on Thursday declined to comment on the interview during a regular press briefing.

Ahead of Guo's VOA appearance, the state-run Beijing News published a story alleging the real estate mogul had been involved in shady business deals.

The article also mentioned YouTube videos that show Ma, who is in jail, discussing bribes he took from Guo.

VOA journalists said in the interview with Guo that Chinese foreign ministry officials had contacted the broadcaster before the programme and expressed concerns about them giving a platform to a "criminal suspect".

The officials had declined to respond to Guo's allegations, VOA said.

Guo told VOA that Beijing was trying to use the Interpol notice to stop him from speaking out.

The president of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, was previously China's vice-minister of public security - the first Chinese official to hold the post.

Meng's election last November sparked concern he would give Beijing more leverage to use the agency to track down dissidents abroad.

The live stream interview was halted just as Guo started discussing "the Wang Qishan situation".

Widely considered Chinese President Xi Jinping's top lieutenant, Wang is the head of the government's internal corruption watchdog.