Billionaire Who Accused Top Chinese Officials of Corruption Asks U.S. for Asylum
A billionaire property developer who has accused some of China’s most powerful officials of corruption has applied for political asylum in the United States, his lawyer said.
The billionaire, Guo Wengui, who is in the United States on a tourist visa that expires later this year, is seeking asylum status because his public charges against Chinese officials have made him “a political opponent of the Chinese regime,” Thomas Ragland, a Washington-based lawyer representing him, said in a telephone interview late Wednesday.
Asylum – even a pending asylum application — would give Mr. Guo more protection because he could stay in the United States while the application was being considered, a process that can take years, Mr. Ragland said.
“Asylum offers a level of protection that is different from having a visa status,” Mr. Ragland said. “Visas can be canceled or revoked.”
From his $68 million apartment overlooking Central Park in Manhattan, Mr. Guo, also known as Miles Kwok, has used Twitter and YouTube to publicize his claims that Wang Qishan, a member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee who oversees the ruling Communist Party’s own anticorruption efforts, and his family members secretly control one of China’s largest conglomerates.
Some of the evidence he presents to back his claims is easily refuted or simply difficult to believe. But some of his accusations, such as those made against the family of Mr. Wang’s immediate predecessor, can be corroborated.