Billionaire businessman Guo Wengui, who has made allegations of corruption against top Chinese officials, said he is seeking asylum in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Guo, a property tycoon who has lived in the US since 2015, said on a live video broadcast on Thursday that he applied for political asylum amid Beijing’s efforts to persecute and silence him, the newspaper said.
“My home country wants to harm me, by any means necessary,” Guo was quoted as saying in the video, filmed in his New York residence.
If his asylum application is approved, Chinese authorities “will not be able to take me back, no matter what method they use”, he said.
Guo has made allegations on social media and video interviews about alleged corruption between China’s business elites and senior Communist Party officials. The party is preparing for its 19th national congress this October to decide on changes in its top leadership.
Guo has offered little evidence to support his allegations, but his disclosures have sent shock waves across the country.
Beijing has declared him a criminal suspect and asked the Interpol to arrest him.
The US and China have no extradition treaty. Granting Guo asylum could lead to diplomatic complications for the Trump administration, which is seeking China’s cooperation in pressuring North Korea, the Journal said.
Pyongyang has recently stepped up testing of its missile and nuclear technology.
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