- Hao Haidong, once China’s top striker, denounced China’s Communist Party
- He labelled the party a ‘terrorist organisation’ and demanded its ‘elimination’
- He urged for a democratic Chinese government that would ensure human rights
- Bombshell statement was aired on the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown
- Beijing billed his words as ‘absurd’ and his information was censored overnight
A retired Chinese football superstar has seen information about him censored from the country’s internet overnight after he publicly denounced the ruling Communist Party.
The 50-year-old sports legend also labelled the party as a ‘terrorist organisation’ that has ruled China with ‘total anti-humanity atrocities’. He urged for a new democratic Chinese government that would ensure ‘human rights, the rule of law and religious freedom’.
Beijing today billed Mr Hao’s words as ‘absurd’. A spokesperson told a press briefing ‘I don’t have any interest in commenting’ while being asked about the bombshell public criticism.
Mr Hao, a household name in his home country, blasted the Communist Party in a lengthy video published yesterday on YouTube, which is blocked in mainland China.
The clip was aired on the 31st anniversary of the bloody Tian’anmen Square crackdown. The bloodbath, the most sensitive topic to the Communist Party, saw Chinese leaders sending tanks and troops to kill young students at a pro-democracy movement in the capital city in 1989.
Mr Hao swore allegiance to the ‘Federal State of New China’, a purported alternative to the ruling Communist Party of China established by fugitive tycoon Guo Wengui, who lives in exile.
The former football star vowed: ‘To eliminate the Communist Party of China is the need of justice.
‘The CCP was funded by the Communist International and a terrorist organisation that overthrew the legal Chinese government.’
He said the party’s ‘totalitarian rule in China has developed into total anti-humanity atrocities’.
He then touched on some of the most sensitive topics in China, urging genuine autonomy for Hong Kong as well as Tibet, and calling for an end to government corruption.
The outspoken man also accused Beijing of launching ‘biological warfare’ on the world with the novel coronavirus, for which there is no evidence. He claims the party was ‘extremely sinful’.
Mr Hao went onto express his wish for a democratic system under the ‘Federal State of New China’. He demanded a new constitution and a government with separation of powers founded upon the ‘one person, one vote’ rule.
His speech was supported by his wife, 46-year-old Ye Zhaoying, who was a two-time badminton world champion.
‘I think the Chinese people should not be trampled upon by the Chinese Communist Party any more. I think this Communist Party should be kicked out of humanity. This is the conclusion I reached after 50 years of living,’ he said in a separate video with his wife by his side.
Mr Hao did not mention when he was while recording the video, but some reports suggested that the couple was in their residence in Spain.
It is extremely rare for high-profile Chinese citizens to openly criticise the government, given China’s hard line on dissent.
Mr Hao’s account on Weibo, China’s hugely popular all-in-one online communications tool, was swiftly deleted.
All entries on him on Zhihu, a popular question-and-answer website similar to Quora, were also removed.
Sports newspaper Titan issued a posting condemning Mr Hao’s ‘damaging of national sovereignty’ and vowing never to report on him again. It referred to Mr Hao only by the first letter of his surname, H. Titan’s post is no longer accessible for unspecified reasons.
Hupu, a popular sports forum, issued a notice, banning all discussions about Mr Hao, according to a screen shot circulating online. The notice has also disappeared for unknown reasons.
When asked to comment on Mr Hao’s call for a ‘New Federal State of China’, Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing: ‘To these absurd statements, to this farce, I don’t have any interest in commenting.’
Born in the eastern city of Qingdao in 1970, Mr Hao joined the Chinese army at the age of 10 before becoming a professional football player.
He was a striker for China’s national team and also played for the military’s Bayi team and national champion Dalian Shide. He briefly joined English club Sheffield United in 2005. He has been out of the sport for more than a decade, drawing occasional attention for his controversial remarks.
Along with current China coach Li Tie, he was a star on the squad that made China’s only World Cup appearance in 2002, in which the national team left after three games without scoring a goal.
Mr Hao still holds the national scoring record with 41 goals in more than 100 appearances for China and is also the all-time lead scorer in the Chinese league with 96 goals.
Over the last several weeks, he has questioned one team’s decision to fire a player for having altered his car’s license plate illegally and disputed the official soccer association’s decision not to televise the Chinese team’s World Cup warmup games against local club teams.
‘If the national team feels pressure to play the club teams, how can they cope with it when facing other national teams?’ Mr Hao was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency on May 19.
In the past, he has also criticised the decision to allow foreign players to take Chinese citizenship to play on the national team and called for the formation of a players union.
Guo Wengui, also known as Miles Guo, fled China amid allegations of financial misdoings and has waged a campaign from New York against China’s president and party leader Xi Jinping and his administration.
Among other stunts, he hired planes to fly over the Hudson River early Thursday morning dragging banners promoting his group and appeared in a video shot on a boat in front of the Statue of Liberty with former Donald Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon.