The Billionaire Gadfly in Exile Who Stared Down Beijing

“We need to root out some of the robbers of this country,” Mr. Guo, referring to China, told two New York Times reporters this month at his apartment. To emphasize the point, he wrote it out in Chinese in a notebook. “We are against using corruption to root out corruption.”

Mr. Guo’s allegations are unproved, and some of his claims have been outlandish and easily debunked. Yet amid his barrage of charges about China’s powerful and wealthy are claims that have turned out to be accurate. And the government’s treatment of Mr. Guo, whose former political patron was one of China’s highest-ranking intelligence officials, suggests he may be taken seriously, perhaps even supported, by some officials in Beijing.

Mr. Guo’s most recent claims have reverberated across China and fed unease on Wall Street about doing business there. The assertions, if substantiated, could upend politics in China, the world’s second-biggest economy, possibly driving a wedge between President Xi Jinping and Wang Qishan, the anticorruption czar.

Mr. Wang, the focus of Mr. Guo’s allegations, has close ties to Wall Street, with enormous influence over China’s financial sector. Mr. Guo’s assertions come just months before a Communist Party meeting that will decide whether Mr. Wang, recently the focus of speculation that he may become China’s next prime minister, will remain on the party’s elite Politburo Standing Committee.


Wang Qishan, left, and President Xi Jinping of China in 2013. If Mr. Guo’s assertions are substantiated, they could drive a wedge between Mr. Xi and Mr. Wang, China’s anticorruption czar.

Feng Li/Getty Images

Mr. Guo’s Twitter broadsides have continued, and his ability to stare down the world’s most powerful authoritarian nation has underscored the mystery, in China and abroad, about how he…

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