Chinese self-media report exiled billionaire Guo Wengui's arrrest, allegedly an illegal act

Asian Tech Press (Mar 17) -- The news of Chinese fugitive billionaire Guo Wengui's arrest in the United States on Wednesday sparked major public attention in China, with several Chinese media outlets reporting the story on social platforms.

Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire known for his ties to the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, fled to the United States in 2015 and is now accused of defrauding investors of more than $1 billion.

The Chinese businessman was arrested in New York on Wednesday with 11 charges, including wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

Since Thursday afternoon, Chinese official media outlets such as Global Times, China Fund News, Jiemian News, Three Gorges Evening News and Southern Metropolis Daily have been reporting on Guo's arrest on their WeChat public accounts.

However, some Chinese self-media did not have permission to report on Guo's arrest, and even individual self-media were punished by short-term blocking by Tencent's WeChat without successfully publishing articles.

Some self-media said that their articles about Guo were not published successfully, and readers could not see the articles they wanted to publish, but they were blocked by WeChat for up to one month. Even though they appealed, they were still judged by WeChat to be "in violation of laws", and the original punishment was upheld.

Guo Wengui, the subject of an Interpol Red Notice, seems to be a sensitive topic on Chinese social media.

Although no formal notice has been issued, there are restrictions on posting information related to Guo on WeChat, one of the most popular and important social media platforms in China.

The most recent article on Guo, is a securities and finance-related story published by Chinese official media outlet 21st Century Business Herald on Aug. 1, 2021, in addition to a Global Times article headlined "Guo Wengui arrested in U.S." on Thursday afternoon.

After inquiries, the only accounts that were allowed to publish articles related to Guo on their WeChat public accounts were those that were officially certified, such as People's Daily Online and Xinmin Evening News for media outlets, and CPC Changchun Municipal Committee Party School and Chang'an Sword of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (CPLC) for administrative agencies.

As can be seen, Chinese self-media seem to be restricted from publishing content about Guo. WeChat, then, would rule that self-media are "in violation" if they publish relevant articles, although the platform does not give specific guidelines to public account operators regarding violations.

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