Human rights scholar Teng Biao says Bannon buddy Guo Wengui harassing him

“Inform the reality concerning the virus, the CCP virus!” one feminine protester demanded in damaged English on a latest afternoon, brandishing an indication suggesting that the house owner had helped manufacture the novel coronavirus as a bioweapon. Different picketers waved posters declaring their goal was a spy for China’s Communist Get together.

The resident inside, Teng Biao, is an odd individual to accuse of such crimes: he’s a broadly revered Chinese language dissident and scholar at Hunter School in New York who fled China after repeatedly clashing with the authorities over his human-rights work. The day day pickets have outraged his neighbors and even the city’s mayor, who’ve flocked to his garden to help him.

The circus has baffled this quiet nook of New Jersey, however Teng says he is aware of who organized it — Guo Wengui, a Chinese language businessman in New York who has labored on varied initiatives with former White Home strategist Stephen Ok. Bannon.

Teng and several other different Chinese language dissidents in North America informed The Washington Put up that Guo has despatched protesters to harass them in latest months as a result of they’ve publicly criticized Guo, who left China in 2014, earlier than Chinese language authorities accused him of bribery, fraud, rape and different crimes — costs he denies.

Guo lately has declared himself an enemy of the Chinese language Communist Get together, calling for an finish to CCP rule and the founding of a New Federal State of China. His marketing campaign has attracted tens of 1000’s of loyal followers on-line, who watch his fiery social media clips about Chinese language corruption, and go to his GNews and GTV Media web sites.

However lately, in a curious twist for an anti-CCP crusader, Guo started loudly denouncing Chinese language dissidents in a collection of movies, calling for his followers to “remove” roughly 20 individuals he deemed “traitors.” Shortly afterward, outstanding dissidents from Texas and New York to Vancouver, Canada, and Virginia discovered their houses besieged protesters.

Texas-based pastor Bob Fu, whose ministry gives help to underground Christians and human-rights attorneys in China, filed a lawsuit final month in federal courtroom alleging that Guo was unlawfully concentrating on him with “on-line loss of life threats” and intimidating protests at his residence within the West Texas oil city of Midland. At one level, Fu’s household was evacuated native and federal authorities in response to a reputable bomb risk, Fu stated in an interview.

Gao Bingchen, a journalist who lives exterior Vancouver, Canada, informed The Put up that protesters that he believes had been despatched Guo started harassing him exterior his residence in early September, shouting obscenities and accusing him of being a spy. In late November, two of the protesters brutally attacked Gao’s buddy, Louis Huang, leaving him with fractures in his face, Huang stated in an interview, confirming studies in Canadian media.

Requested concerning the protests, Guo appeared to substantiate his involvement, although he denied any position in violence.

“To be clear, I’ve no means condoned any sort of violence in direction of any people. Myself, the anti-CCP supporters, and the New Federal State of China motion are exercising our First Modification proper to show and oppose those that help the CCP, much like different human rights campaigns within the historical past of the U.S.,” Guo stated in a written assertion supplied his lawyer, Daniel Podhaskie.

“If there are remoted confrontations, these are the acts of people who will not be following my beliefs,” Guo stated, declining to remark additional.

Guo’s actions have revived debate amongst abroad Chinese language and in Washington circles concerning the businessman’s goals and loyalties. Some Guo critics, together with Fu and the previous Peking College professor Xia Yeliang, have stated they think that Guo might be engaged on Beijing’s behalf to undermine the Communist Get together’s enemies. Others say he’s a real opponent of the Get together and assaults outstanding dissidents to boost his personal standing and sideline rivals.

Fu stated Guo’s assaults in opposition to him echoed criticism in Chinese language state media, and that the listing of “traitors” named Guo embody lots of the Chinese language authorities’s recognized enemies.

“He desires to silence me, to disrupt our ministry’s operations in China, that are the targets of the Chinese language Communist Get together and particularly the Chinese language safety equipment,” Fu stated. “There is no such thing as a logical conclusion aside from somebody has ordered him to do one thing damaging. It’s surreal that this may occur on American soil.”

Guo has publicly claimed previous ties to Chinese language intelligence companies, stating on YouTube that he delivered messages and carried out work on their behalf in years previous. Earlier than Guo left China, the authorities there stated that he loved a years-long alliance with senior Chinese language intelligence official Ma Jian, who acquired a life sentence for corruption in 2018.

Since transferring to the US, Guo has cast a relationship with Bannon, hiring him as a marketing consultant and pledging to donate $100 million to a Bannon-led charity tasked with investigating corruption and different issues in China. This summer season, Guo introduced that Bannon would function chairman of GTV, although Guo later stated that Bannon had been faraway from that position after his arrest on fraud costs associated to Bannon’s marketing campaign to boost funds to assist construct a wall alongside the U.S. border with Mexico. When U.S. authorities arrested Bannon in August, he was stress-free on Guo’s yacht off the coast of Connecticut.

Bannon didn’t reply to requests for remark for this text. In latest months Bannon has praised Guo, calling him “the hardest Chinese language opponent the CCP has ever encountered.”

As Guo’s profile has grown, Teng and different Chinese language dissidents have publicly questioned the veracity of his tales and his dissident bona fides, sparking his ire.

In September, Guo donned a blue go well with and recorded a video encouraging his followers to “remove traitors” in Canada, Japan, Taiwan and the US, who he stated had criticized and threatened him and his followers.

Guo ticked off an inventory of enemies together with Teng; the pastor Fu; Xia Yeliang, the previous Peking College professor who left China after he was fired in 2013 for criticizing occasion officers and supporting democratic reforms; Sasha Gong, a former journalist for Voice of America; and three workers of Boxun, a Chinese language-language information web site that has printed crucial details about Chinese language leaders.

In an interview at his New Jersey residence, Teng stated the protesters first appeared whereas he was instructing a web based course about human rights in China from his front room.

“I instantly realized why they had been right here as a result of they’ve been harassing different individuals, different critics of Guo Wengui,” he stated.

Not one of the protesters at Teng’s home on a latest afternoon would give their names. Requested why they’d come, a lady brandished an indication accusing Teng of being a CCP spy. Requested why the group believed this, a person shouted “We have now proof!” however declined to elaborate.

One other man with a tripod was filming the scene on a smartphone, and stated he was broadcasting to GTV. The protesters have additionally posted updates about their Teng demonstration on GNews.

Teng’s neighbors and supporters stated they’ve repeatedly requested the protesters to elucidate their trigger however no means acquired a straight reply.

“They yell issues like, ‘He’s a spy and he’s a liar and he’s evil,’ however there’s no specifics,” stated Lisa Garwood, an area resident huddling with doughnuts and low on Teng’s garden. Two native spiritual leaders, additionally there to defend Teng, chatted close , whereas Teng’s buddy silently filmed a documentary about the entire unorthodox scene.

Lauren Davis, a author who got here to help Teng after studying about the protests on the information web site Planet Princeton, stated the members have tried to intimidate her.

One male protester “got here as much as me and whispered in my ear, ‘We all know you’re a author, we all know who you’re and we’re going to search out out extra,’ ” Davis stated.

“This group feels to me as if it’s Q-Anon Chinese language,” she added.

On Dec. 12, the mayor of West Windsor Township, Hemant Marathe, dropped to defend Teng and admonish the protesters.

“It’s actually gratifying to see the neighbors and township rally in help of considered one of us,” Marathe stated in a video posted on-line. “And to all of those that are right here to protest, this has backfired on you, actually.”

“If something, this has generated extra help” for Teng, the mayor added. “This isn’t the American approach, to face in entrance of anyone shouting insults.”

Teng stated he doesn’t imagine the protesters are native residents. He guessed that some had traveled to the US from China on vacationer visas, and that Guo may be pressuring some to take part, however he stated he has no proof of this. Teng’s neighbors say they don’t acknowledge the picketers, a few of whom arrive in automobiles with New York license plates.

Teng has been posting updates concerning the protesters’ machinations on Twitter, together with translations of a few of the vile profanities he says they’ve shouted.

One in every of Teng’s neighbors who speaks Mandarin stated the protesters shouted filthy curses at him, too. In addition they demanded to know why he was defending Teng.

“I stated, ‘I’m a buddy, I help my buddy,’ ” stated the neighbor, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to keep away from attracting the picketers’ ire. “They stated, ‘For those who’re a supporter, then you definately’re with him, you’re CCP, you’re additionally a spy and also you additionally should die and go to hell!’ They don’t seem to be rational individuals.”

Emily Rauhala contributed to this report.

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