Wanted Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui blames ‘spy’ in US broadcaster Voice of America for pulling plug on interview
US broadcaster declines to comment on charges from Guo Wengui, instead referencing its former ‘miscommunication’ statement
Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui blames the abrupt termination of his interview with the Voice of America on infiltration and sabotage by a “liaison person” for the Chinese authorities within the US broadcaster.
VOA declined to comment on those charges. Bridget Serchak, the broadcaster’s public relations director, told the South China Morning Post that the company has nothing to add to its previous statement, which blamed a “miscommunication” for the aborted interview.
Guo’s high-profile webcast with the Washington-based broadcaster was cut short less than halfway through its scheduled three hours, after he levelled new allegations against families of Communist Party leaders he said secretly controlled business empires. The termination of the interview sparked intense speculation on social media.
Guo, also known as Miles Kwok, is a self-made tycoon who left China in late 2013. Beijing requested an Interpol red notice against him a day before his highly promoted interview with VOA, alleging he had a former Chinese spy master dancing to his demands to the tune of 60 million yuan (US$8.7 million).
During the VOA interview, Guo said claims that he bribed the disgraced former spy chief Ma Jian were incorrect.
The broadcaster said in a statement on Thursday that the abrupt end to the interview was caused by “a miscommunication”, after Guo said in a video posted on his Twitter account that VOA pulled the plug on the piece because of pressure from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a new statement posted on Twitter on Friday, Guo said the interruption of the webcast had “nothing to do” with the US government.
Instead, he claimed the interview was sabotaged by a “liaison person” for the Chinese foreign ministry and Beijing’s intelligence agency within the broadcaster, who he said had resorted to “various improper measures to exert pressure.”
Despite VOA releasing a teaser on Saturday that the interview would be a three-hour live webcast, Serchak’s statement on Thursday said: “In a miscommunication, the stream was allowed to continue beyond the first hour. When this was noticed the feed was terminated. We will release content from these interviews and will continue to report on corruption issues.
“We had multiple plans to conduct additional interviews with the subject for social media and late yesterday made the editorial decision to record this material, edit and post it in the coming days.”
The Chinese government had pressured the VOA ahead of time to cancel the interview. The hosts said during the interview that China’s foreign ministry had summoned one of the broadcaster’s Beijing-based correspondents before the interview.