Editor's Note Oct. 11, 11:01 a.m.: The Washington Free Beacon recently learned that senior editor Bill Gertz entered into a previously undisclosed financial transaction with an individual or an affiliate of that individual whom Mr. Gertz had covered in some of his reporting.
Upon learning about this transaction, the Washington Free Beacon promptly asked Mr. Gertz for his resignation and that resignation was received and accepted. The Washington Free Beacon has appended this disclaimer to all of Mr. Gertz’s affected news stories.
Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui announced this week he is creating a $100 million fund to aid the victims of Chinese communist repression under current leader Xi Jinping.
Guo announced the creation of the fund, which will also be used to finance investigations into Chinese government financial activities and those of its supporters in the West, at press conference in New York City on Tuesday.
The former Chinese insider also revealed in a presentation for reporters details on the disappearance, imprisonment, or death of 56 prominent Chinese nationals, including the mysterious death in July of Wang Jian, one of China's wealthiest business leaders.
"A lot of people lost their freedom, a lot of people disappeared," Guo said through an interpreter. "What we see here is the tip of the iceberg."
Meng Hongwei, the president of Interpol and a Chinese Public Security Ministry vice minister, was one of those who disappeared during a visit to China last month. He later resigned from Interpol.
The fund will be called the "Rule of Law Fund" and according to a presentation by Guo will be used to "bring justice and righteousness to those millions of afflicted and those being cruelly killed."
Since Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, thousands of Party and military officials have been purged, including numerous high-ranking leaders. The campaign has been carried out ostensibly to end endemic corruption but is widely viewed as part of a program by Xi to consolidate power by eliminating rivals.
The money also will assist those punished by arbitrary Chinese government judgements. Additionally, the funds will be used to expose corruption in China and to sue corrupt Chinese government officials in U.S. courts.
Guo also plans to "disclose Chinese espionage activities in United States," according to the presentation.
Last year, Guo disclosed to the Washington Free Beacon that China operates a network of some 25,000 agents in the United States.
Guo said he has evidence of the spying activities and will use the U.S. legal system to sue companies operating as fronts.
Guo is worth an estimated $28 billion that he said was gained outside of China through overseas real estate and financial investments.
Once a trusted business leader who was close to senior Chinese Party and military leaders, Guo broke with the regime in 2014. In 2016 he began speaking out in YouTube videos exposing corruption of Chinese leaders and in seeking democratic and legal reform in China. He has gained a wide following on social media both inside and outside of China estimated to include millions of supporters.
As a result, Guo has been the target of a major Chinese covert and overt influence campaign that seeks to have him repatriated back to China.
China has accused Guo of corruption and other crimes but has not revealed formal charges against him—a sign the charges are politically motivated.
The Chinese government campaign also has involved pressure on the Trump administration from key American business leaders with business interests in China.
Guo said the case of HNA is an example of how the Chinese government and Communist Party exploits businesses.
HNA grew from a small airline company located on Hainan Island in the South China Sea into a conglomerate worth more than $190 billion in a few years.
The conglomerate owns stakes in the Hilton hotel chain and Germany's Deutsche Bank AG.
Guo said HNA is one example of "a special-purpose organization" controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to benefit senior government officials, execute overseas operations for the CCP and influence American government and business elites.
The businessman suggested that the Communist regime is exploiting its business leaders by assisting their efforts to make large sums of money and then stealing their assets.
In April 2017, Guo told the Voice of America that he believed Wang would be murdered to prevent him from divulging Chinese government secrets. He also stated that HNA was secretly controlled by senior Communist leader Wang Qishen, currently vice president of China.
After the disclosures, HNA made an unusual $2 billion donation to a New York-based Chinese charity called Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation Inc.
Also after Guo's revelations about HNA's links to senior Party leaders, at least two U.S. companies, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, canceled work with HNA over ownership concerns.
HNA then sued Guo over the allegations but according to Guo sought to settle the suit after lawyers for the dissident sought details about the company's finances and operations through the legal discovery process.
Guo, in his presentation, disclosed that HNA was linked to the family of Wang Qishen, the senior Party leader, through flight records showing members of the family traveled to the United States on a privately owned Boeing 787.
Guo said the Wang Qishen family owns over $100 million worth of U.S. assets through two trusts.
Guo also said the mysterious death of Wang Jian, the HNA chairman, should be investigated by U.S. authorities because Wang was a permanent U.S. resident who lived in Seattle.
The HNA leader ran afoul of Beijing authorities after the company incurred debts of nearly $114 billion through purchases of foreign companies, according to Guo.
Guo said HNA is also linked to the Ministry of State Security, the Chinese intelligence service that is in charge of recruiting agents, collecting intelligence, bribing officials, and laundering money for some government officials.
"Mr. Wang Jian is the person in-charge of these overseas special operations and he knows too much secret of the special operations and the money laundering of senior government officials," Guo's presentation states.
Guo also said a private investigation into Wang's death in France revealed the Chinese government took $11 billion in Wang's HNA assets.
The French government concluded Wang Jian died in an accidental fall, but Guo is pressing for a U.S. investigation of the death.
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who appeared with Guo at the press conference to announce the fund, said the activity will be set up in the coming weeks and that he would work as an unpaid director for the fund.
Bannon said Guo's main focus is "to assist the families, the victims, the friends of the missing, the imprisoned, those who died under mysterious circumstances."
In addition to assisting victims in China, Guo will seek to use the fund to "hold accountable those institutions in the West, specifically in New York City, in the city of London and other financial capitals that have aided and abetted this reckless behavior," Bannon said.
"This is beginning of a process that is going to take many years," he added.
Bannon said the fund has no connection to the Trump administration.