NEW YORK – From a luxury Manhattan apartment, Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui is plotting a “change of the regime” in Beijing and developing a new media platform with the aim of introducing democracy in the world’s most populous country.
The fugitive real estate mogul settled in April in New York, on the 18th floor of a hotel facing Central Park, where he’s now waiting with his wife for a decision on his claim for US political asylum.
“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. He’s set a timeline of three years.
For several months, Guo has been flooding social networks with searing accusations of corruption against China’s rich and powerful.
Few Chinese tycoons choose dissent. But Guo, whose property was seized and two brothers imprisoned since he fled from China in 2014, says his campaign has been brewing for 28 years.
Amid the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, “my little brother died in front of me … I was detained for 22 months”.
It was in prison that he decided to “wrestle with this system under the Communist party that is inhumane, not democratic, unlawful”.
While some accuse the businessman, who is not shy about publicising his ostentatious lifestyle, of hypocrisy in his allegations of corruption among China’s political elite, Guo denies accusations that he himself is also guilty of graft.
“Why would I do this? I don’t need the money, I have money,” he said, ticking off possessions such as apartments in New York and London and a yacht, as well as “a wonderful family”.