Famous soccer player, Steve Bannon, and exiled billionaire declare ‘New Federal State of China’

Society & Culture

One of the most famous soccer players in China, Hǎo Hǎidōng 郝海东, set the Chinese language internet abuzz last week, but not the internet in China, where most mentions of his name were scrubbed.

SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

One of the most famous soccer players in China, Hǎo Hǎidōng 郝海东, set the Chinese language internet abuzz last week, but not the internet in China, where most mentions of his name were scrubbed:

Hao joined exiled tweeting businessman and critic of the Chinese government Guō Wénguì 郭文贵 and right-wing American political agitator Steve Bannon in a YouTube video calling for the downfall of the Communist Party, an end to the People’s Republic of China, and the formation of a “New Federal State of China.”

The rather bizarre video features Guo telling Bannon he loves him as they motor around the Statue of Liberty in a boat. Then Hao appears, livestreaming from an undisclosed location. At the end of his call for the New Federal State of China, Hao is joined by his wife, Yè Zhāoyǐng 叶钊颖, a former badminton world champion and celebrity in her own right.

Both Hao and Ye are household names in China. He led the country’s football team to its only appearance in the World Cup, and is still Chinese domestic soccer’s all-time record goal scorer. She ranked as the number one women’s singles badminton player in the world in 1995. She lost and regained that ranking several times before her retirement after the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, where she won a bronze medal.

Hao’s and Ye’s social media accounts have been scrubbed from the Chinese internet, but there has been no formal reaction from the Chinese government.

Earlier last week on Wednesday, a group of propeller planes “trailing banners that read ‘New Federal State of China’ flew over New York,” notes Reuters, apparently paid for by Guo.