Facebook blocks fugitive Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui’s pages
Social network places restrictions on businessman who has made string of sensational corruption allegations against officials
Facebook has blocked two pages in the name of Guo Wengui, the fugitive Chinese tycoon who has been making corruption accusations against senior officials in recent months.
The social media network said it had blocked a profile under Guo’s name and taken down another page associated with him, adding that both pages had included someone else’s personal identifiable information.
Facebook acted after receiving a complaint, according to a spokeswoman for the social network.
Guo appeared to confirm the deletion of his Facebook pages on his Twitter feed with a link to The New York Times report which first disclosed the news.
He blamed pressure from the Chinese government, without elaborating further, and did not respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.
“We want people to feel free to share and connect on Facebook, as well as feel safe, so we don’t allow people to publish the personal information of others without their consent,” a spokesperson for Facebook told the South China Morning Post.
The social media network said it had removed a page associated with Guo and temporarily restricted his profile from posting or messaging.
The pages were blocked on Saturday, September 30.
The incident took place at a sensitive time for China, as later this month it will host a five-yearly Communist Party congress meeting, which will see a major reshuffle in the party’s top leadership.
President Xi Jinping, who is sure to be confirmed for a second term as the general secretary of the party, is also expected to further consolidate his power by bringing his protégés into the top leadership, and writing his name in the party constitution.
Guo has made a number of corruption allegations against senior Chinese officials in recent months, including Wang Qishan, the party’s most senior anti-corruption official, who is considered an ally of Xi and the country’s second most powerful man.
But Guo has barely provided any hard evidence to back up his claims.
Beijing has previously filed an Interpol red notice requesting Guo’s arrest on bribery charges.
The Chinese authorities have also indicated they will file a second red notice concerning a rape alleged to have been committed outside China.
Last month a former employee of Guo’s also lodged a civil suit in the New York courts alleging he had raped her, and seeking damages of US$140 million.
Guo has claimed political asylum in the United States, which does not have an extradition treaty with China.