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Steve Bannon and a Fugitive Billionaire Target a Common Enemy: China

Category: Diplomatic Relations,Politics

The project, he says, is consistent with his populist and nationalist agenda. China’s reckless behavior, he contended, is endangering the global economy, and sapping America’s strength.

“As a populist, this is outrageous,” Mr. Bannon said, noting that American financial institutions have helped back the worrisome global buying sprees of Chinese companies, with cash raised from ordinary people, including government pension funds. “The elites in this country have to be held accountable. We have to get the facts on the table.”

Mr. Guo, 50, insists that the fund offers a way to strike back at Beijing. China has pressed the Trump administration to extradite him so that he can face a raft of charges in China — allegations he strongly denies. Billions of dollars in assets he controlled have been frozen by Beijing. And Interpol, the global police organization, has issued a warrant seeking his arrest. He now travels with a phalanx of security guards, saying he fears for his life.

The Chinese Embassy could not be reached for comment. But the Guo-Bannon alliance has alarmed some analysts, who view the two men as purveyors of conspiracy theories fueling anti-China sentiment.

“The problem with these types of reckless, loose-cannon accusations is that they undermine the ability of responsible analysts and policymakers to identify the genuine cases of Chinese wrongdoing and fashion realistic and effective policy responses,” said Michael D. Swaine, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

For Mr. Bannon, the new effort plays to a longstanding and complicated interest in China. As a young naval officer in the 1970s, he patrolled the South China Sea. He also lived for a time in Shanghai, where he ran a small online gaming company. In recent years, he has come to view China as a military threat to the United States, and a fierce economic rival that refuses to play by the rules.


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