The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that Interpol had issued a “red notice” for Guo Wengui (郭文貴), a controversial property tycoon who has made claims of high-level corruption within the Chinese Communist Party.
Guo, who is known to have close ties with disgraced former Chinese vice minister of state security Ma Jian (馬建), has mainly lived in the US since leaving China two years ago after what he says was a business dispute with relatives of a retired top Chinese Communist Party official.
The South China Morning Post first reported that an Interpol “red notice” was issued for Guo at China’s request on Tuesday evening, citing unidentified sources.
The newspaper said Guo was suspected of bribing Ma with 60 million yuan (US$8.71 million).
Ma, who worked in counterespionage, is being prosecuted for graft and was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party in December last year.
“What we understand is that Interpol has already issued a ‘red notice’ for criminal suspect Guo Wengui,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) said at a regular news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, without elaborating.
A “red notice” is an international alert for a wanted person.
Guo on Twitter said Interpol was an organization and not a government, and had no administrative powers, and that for many years he had had no Chinese identity documents.
“This will only make Wengui fight even more resolutely to the end with these bad people. This is all just the beginning!” he wrote, without elaborating.
In a live television interview with Voice of America’s Chinese-language service late on Wednesday, Guo denied bribing Ma and made fresh allegations about business empires controlled by the families of Chinese leaders. The claims could not be immediately substantiated.
The Chinese government had pressured Voice of America to cancel the interview ahead of time, with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoning one of the broadcaster’s Beijing-based correspondents on Monday, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The ministry did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment yesterday.
While the broadcast aired as planned, it ended well short of the scheduled three hours advertised beforehand.
About 80 minutes in, a Voice of America host abruptly said they needed to end the broadcast due to “certain reasons.”
A Voice of America spokeswoman said the original plan was always to keep the live stream to one hour and attributed the abrupt end to “miscommunication.”
“In a miscommunication, the stream was allowed to continue beyond the first hour,” spokeswoman Bridget Serchak said in an e-mailed statement. “When this was noticed, the feed was terminated. We will release content from these interviews and will continue to report on corruption issues.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) sees extravagance and corruption as an existential threat to the Chinese Communist Party.
In the latest effort to tackle graft, state media said late on Wednesday that the government issued stricter regulations requiring officials to report personal information, including assets, to the party.