Guo Wengui’s associates go to (live-streamed!) trial – China’s latest political and current affairs news


A summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for June 9, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Islamic State claims to have killed two Chinese teachers."

Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare's, Office of International Cooperation director, Hsu Ming-hui (R), talks during a news conference on how Taiwan would react if it is not invited to the World Health Assembly (WHA), in Taipei, Taiwan May 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The Financial Times reports (paywall) that three of exiled billionaire Guo Wengui’s 郭文贵 former colleagues at the Beijing Pangu Investment Company went on trial in the northeastern port city of Dalian on June 9. Reflecting the high profile of the case, authorities released dozens of live video clips and transcript pieces (in Chinese) from the trial on the social media platform Weibo — only two high-profile corruption cases had ever been covered live before, FT notes: those of former Chongqing mayor Bo Xilai 薄熙来 and a former national economic planner, Liu Tienan 刘铁男.

The South China Morning Post says, “At issue is a 3.2 billion yuan loan ($470 million) that Pangu secured from the Agricultural Bank of China between 2009 and 2010.” The loan was “ostensibly to be used to fund interior finishing work at Pangu Plaza,” Guo’s unmissable dragon-shaped building overlooking the Olympic Park in Beijing, but prosecutors argued that the invoice was faked and the money was misused.

These are far from the only accusations brought against Guo in retaliation for his outspoken criticism of top Chinese government officials, which markedly heated up earlier this year. In April, China launched an “unusually sophisticated publicity war” against Guo, which included an accusation of 60 million yuan ($8.7 million) in bribes and the securing of an international “red notice” for Guo’s arrest from the international police organization Interpol. Most recently, Australian resident Yuge Bromley is “exploring a potential defamation lawsuit” against Guo for his claim that she is the illegitimate daughter of Wang Qishan, the Communist Party’s top anti-graft official, according to the South China Morning Post.