On Tuesday, China’s most wanted man posted some pictures from his private meetings with Donald Trump’s ex-chief strategist.
Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese billionaire who spends his days dishing mostly unverifiable dirt on China’s elite, said on Twitter that he met twice with Steve Bannon, the alt-right idealogue head of Breitbart News, in less than a week: once for lunch in Washington and again for a three-hour dinner at his New York home. Guo did not divulge any details about what the two discussed, but ended by calling Bannon a “genius among geniuses!”
— 郭文贵Guo Wengui ✊️✊️✊️ (@KwokMiles) October 11, 2017
Chinese authorities have been trying to repatriate Guo, who applied for US political asylum in September. In April, at Beijing’s request, Interpol issued a “red notice” seeking Guo’s arrest on corruption-related charges. Since then, the former Beijing real estate tycoon has been hit with a number of lawsuits in both China and the US, accusing him of crimes including bribery, fraud, embezzlement and rape.
In his Sinocism newsletter, China-watcher Bill Bishop speculates that Guo is trying “to find a way straight into the White House to help with his asylum bid,” explaining that whatever he’ll have to pay in “lobbying” expenditures will seem like a bargain compared to what he used to have to pay in bribes back in China.
In September, Bannon said that he talks to Trump every two to three days. According to the Washington Post, Trump calls Bannon when chief of staff John Kelly is not looking.
Meanwhile, Bannon visited China last month, shortly following his departure from the White House. He first stopped in Hong Kong for a keynote address at an investors’ conference where he praised the Chinese economic system and Chinese President Xi Jinping — despite his posture as an economic nationalist who has called for tough trade restrictions on China and having drawn parallels between China and Nazi Germany only a week before.
According to the Financial Times, Bannon then went on to Beijing where he met with none other than Wang Qishan, China’s top-graft buster and second-most powerful man, in Zhongnanhai. Reportedly, Wang asked Bannon about economic nationalism and populist movements, but it’s not clear what Bannon asked Wang about.
As an interesting sidenote, back in July, it was reported that Chinese star Fan Bingbing was planning to sue Guo Wengui for claiming that she had slept with Wang Qishan.
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