Retired Chinese soccer player Hao Haidong recently caused an uproar after he called for the ouster of China’s ruling Communist Party.
In a video shot from his home in Spain, Hao read a statement in Chinese, declaring that “the elimination of the Chinese Communist Party is essential in breaking the shackles of slavery imposed on the Chinese people, and also in bringing about peace to the world.”
He then said he supported “a new federal state of China.”
The videos were released on June 4, the 31st anniversary of the Chinese regime’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
They slammed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a totalitarian, “terrorist organization” that committed “horrific atrocities against humanity.”
Bannon and Hao read the declaration on behalf of a U.S.-registered NGO, the Himalaya Supervisory Organization.
They said the group would advocate for a Chinese nation no longer ruled by the CCP, but by a government elected through a democratic “one person, one vote” system.
The declaration also laid out potential terms of a new constitution to govern the nation, which would enshrine rule of law and basic freedoms.
They also outlined the Party’s history of suppressing political dissidents. “Since CCP became the ruling power of China in 1949, it has initiated several brutal political campaigns: land reform, suppression of counter-revolution, the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, the One Child Policy and so on. In total, hundreds of millions of people died prematurely,” the declaration stated.
The group then accused the Party of destroying the international rules-based system and bringing harm to the Chinese people. In the past 30 years, “the CCP regime cheated the U.S. and other western countries, eventually gaining their trust to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). They generated enormous amounts of wealth by selling and exploiting the cheap labor force of the Chinese people, causing heavy pollution, destroying the land, rivers, and lakes. Nevertheless, not only did the CCP fail to share their wealth with their own people, but it has been continuously and unscrupulously stealing national assets and wealth to transfer to overseas accounts of their countless illegitimate children, mistresses, and proxies,” it read.
Background, Beijing’s Response
Hao Haidong, 50, played for the Chinese national soccer team during the 1990s, and led China to its only World Cup finals appearance in 2002.
Hao’s wife Ye Zhaoying, a retired badminton champion, also showed her support for the new “federal state” in a video.
Hao has been outspoken on social issues and previously critiqued the Chinese sports establishment, earning him the nickname “Cannon Hao.” He has a large fan following in China, with nearly 7.7 million followers on the Twitter-like social media platform Weibo.
Hao’s campaign to oust the CCP has angered Beijing.
Hao’s Weibo was shut down by censors shortly after Hao published the declaration video. The social media platform also deleted comments in posts related to Hao.
State-run sports newspaper Titan Sports, the most widely-circulated sports publication in China, criticized Hao in a post on its official Weibo account: “We severely condemn wrong remarks that damage China’s sovereignty, made by the soccer player whose surname is initialed H.”
Hao’s surname is not a popular surname in China. To prevent netizens from searching for keywords related to Hao, the news report did not use Hao’s full surname or his name.
Titan Sports also said it would stop reporting any news related to Hao in the future.
Hours later, Titan Sports removed its post. Reports by other Chinese media about Hao were also scrubbed.
When searching for “Hao Haidong” on Chinese websites, hundreds of webpages still appear, with many about his past scoring moments. The videos can be played, but the commenting function on those web pages have been shut down, according to tests performed by The Epoch Times.
Reuters contributed to this report.