Chinese exile opposition: Operation Fox Hunt and the case Guo Wengui

Chinese exile opposition: Operation Fox Hunt and the case Guo Wengui

The CCP started an international operation Fox Hunt to chase corrupt criminals. However, many critics claim that under the official title of corruption the CCP is also chasimg political dissidents. Therefore the former editor of the Global times Frisbee Hu Xijin wrote an op-ed defending operation Fox Hunt against the accusations of political abuse:

“Western ‚rights‘ groups discredit China by labelling fleeing criminals as political dissidents

By Hu Xijin

Published: Jan 20, 2022 06:08 PM

„Safeguard Defenders,“ a Spain-based so-called human rights organization, released a report on Tuesday, accusing that criminals fleeing overseas who were chased and repatriated to China under China’s Fox Hunt and Sky Net operations include many political dissidents. It criticized this as a serious human rights violation and damage to the judicial sovereignty of countries concerned. The organization called on countries to end judicial cooperation around extradition with China.

It must be pointed out that the accusation by „Safeguard Defenders“ is entirely based on ideology, blatantly standing in opposition to the Chinese people who hate corruption and economic crimes. It behaves like a cult against humanity. What’s unusual is that, although not very influential in the West, as soon as the organization’s report was released, the Western media immediately made follow-up reports. This shows that smearing China has a huge and abnormal public opinion market in the West.

Fox hunt photo: VCG

As is known to all, the Fox Hunt and Sky Net operations are important measures for China’s anti-corruption campaign and law-based governance. There have been essential results since the two operations‘ launch in 2014 and 2015. Thousands of fugitive corrupt officials and economic criminals have been extradited or returned to China to surrender, recovering tens of billions of yuan in economic losses and imposing a strong deterrent for potential fugitives. „Safeguard Defenders“ defends those criminals and uses ideology to disrupt the basic notions of right and wrong. Have those corrupt officials provided funds to the organization? 

Here, I want to appeal that the righteous people in Spain should counter-charge „Safeguard Defenders,“ push to investigate its accounts and see if the money it spent contains illicit money those corrupt officials took from China. Besides, it is necessary to promote an investigation to check, in addition to ideological bias, whether there are connection of interests behind the Western extreme voices attacking China’s Fox Hunt operation, and whether there is corruption in itself.

In most cases, Chinese personnel’s pursuit of fugitives overseas needs the support and cooperation of the country where the fugitive was located at the time. If Chinese personnel’s acts violate the laws of relevant countries and cause damage to the local order, it is impossible that those countries do not react. But so far, only the governments of very few countries, including the US, have expressed dissent to China’s Fox Hunt operation and have had disputes. Most countries have remained positive about China’s pursuit of fugitives, extradition treaties have worked, and mutual respect and understanding have fostered cooperation.

The US is where most Chinese corrupt officials hide. There are two reasons. First, the US has the strongest ideological prejudice against China and the most serious Cold War mentality. The US is unwilling to see China’s promising future, and dares to do damning things. Second, criminals fleeing to the US have brought a lot of money and squandered it there. Although those are ill-gotten gains, they are all spent in the US and are beneficial to its prosperity. For example, there is a community in Virginia, where both the school district and environment are good. Many Chinese fugitives gather there to buy houses, quickly bringing prosperity to the local real estate.

Internally, Washington welcomes corrupt officials and economic criminals to illegally move money from China to the US. Based on these two reasons, corrupt officials regard the US as their safest haven. 

In October 2020, the US Department of Justice charged eight „illegal agents of the Chinese government“ for participating in the Fox Hunt operation in the US. This has emboldened Chinese fugitives in the US.

The above-mentioned move by the US is extremely rare. Generally speaking, the world cooperates with China’s Fox Hunt. Although some Western countries have a negative attitude in assisting China, China’s communication and dealings with them are carried out in a normal way, and there have seldom been open conflicts. The famous Lai Changxing case was dragged on for a long time in Canada. After repeated negotiations between China and Canada, Lai was finally extradited back to China with Canada’s consent.

The accusation by „Safeguard Defenders“ is an old-fashioned way of demonizing China by calling criminals fleeing overseas political dissidents. Recently, Western accusations and propaganda of China’s „violating human rights“ have intensified. No matter what criminals China extradites, if human rights organizations label them as „political dissidents,“ they can cause a storm of public opinion. Western propaganda toward China has been completely polarized and deviated from basic common sense. At this time, if someone wants to protect Chinese corrupt officials and help them build the image of „political dissidents,“ it is very easy to do so.

However, there are many Chinese dissidents in the West. Have any of them become targets for arrest? In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a group of so-called „pro-democracy activists“ went to the US, as well as another group of Falun Gong members and many dissidents. Now, the problem is some of them want to come back to China, but are not allowed to. Why should China arrest them and bring them back to China? Uygur activist Rebiya Kadeer and the so-called barefoot lawyer Chen Guangcheng are allowed to leave the country according to the Chinese government. There is no doubt „Safeguard Defenders“ is lying through its teeth. It is absurd that Western public opinion is so susceptible to lies.“

However, the CCP within the framework of Operation Fox Hunt  is chasing the exile Chinses oligarch Guo Wengui for corruption charges and also wants to bring him  back from the US to Chinese prison. Guo Wengui is a very active anti-Chinese activist who first revitalized, but then split the Chinese opposition. Obama officially declared the Asian pivot, wanted TTP and TTIP as free trade areas against China, but de facto was still too much focused to clean up the mess of the Bush jr. years in the Greater Middle East and the financial crisis. During his presidency the Chinese opposition didn´t receive any invitation into the White House and the hope that the Arab spring could trigger a Yasmin revolution in China turned out to be a pipedream.In reality, Obama also cuddled with China and during his presidency, the Chinese opposition was very silent, passive, frustrated and one had the impression that the old veterans of 1989 were retreating and enjoying their exile life and be pacified. With Trump, everything changed. China and Iran became the main adversaries, especially China as a competitor for the role of a new superpower which could replace the USA. Now the Chinese opposition got more support and attention in the media, politics and even the public. But it were not the 1989 veterans who more focused on their role of a victim or the Falungong, but the sudden appearance of Chinese exile oligarch and Trump Guo Wengui in the USA. Guo Wengui was a Chinese self-made man who made a fortune during the 2008 Olympics by real estate investments and didn´t want to pay the CCP their bribes. He had good contacts to the CCP, the business community, the secret service. After he was arrested and released, he fled to the USA Guo is wanted by anti-graft authorities in Beijing. He left China in 2013 and moved to New York when authorities began investigating his involvement in a series of crimes, involving blackmail, bribes and multiple instances of sexual assault.Three years later in December 2016, Beijing authorities officially pursued corruption charges against China’s former spy head Ma Jian, who had secretly helped Guo to get rid of his business rivals.In early 2017, the billionaire began publishing allegations of misdeeds by CCP officials, primarily by way of Twitter, where he posted videos of talk shows that he conducts online.Guo’s main target has been Wang Qishan, who leads China’s anti-graft campaign. Guo has accused Wang of stealing wealth from the country by turning the HNA Group, a giant corporation with an opaque ownership structure, into a family asset, but Guo has produced no conclusive evidence to support this claim.Guo promoted the idea that by exposing acts of corruption, he will bring radical changes to China’s political system. He started a twitter community, made YouTube videos, founded the Rule of Law Society and teamed up with Kyle Bass, the chief of Hayman Capital and Steve Bannon who were also founding members oft he Committee fort he Present Danger: China, an organization of China hawks, former militaries, intelligence officers, old China hands, former CIA director and Freedom House chief James Woolsey. Guo Wengui declared that he would air insider information about the CCP which would force them to change the political system. Many Chinese opposition leaders were enthusiastic and tried to get contact to him, get money and support from the billionaire for a free China, wanted to make an alliance, but Guo Wengui portrayed them in his videos and media appearances as lazy, passive, greedy opportunists, made jokes about them, didn´t give them any financial support and ridiculed them. In his media war against the CCP, he first supported Xi Jinping in the hope that he would clean the corrupt cadres and change the system, but this was wishful thinking and didn´t materialize. Just the opposite. Even as his goal was reached that Wang Qishan was toppled, but China under Xi transformed from a collective authoritarian party dictatorship to a neototalitarian 1-man dictatorship with Xi Jinping thoughts in the party and state constitution and the social bonus system.Guo Wengui intensified his attacks on the CCP, with a lot of fake news and he didn´t start a political discussion about contents but aired sex and crime stories which could not be verified. Guo Wengui also hoped to get the support of Trump by his contacts with Steve Bannon. He also was a member of Trump´s Mar Al Lago club, but Trump never made a photo with him or recognized him. However, the CCP tried to get Guo Wengui by Interpol and its an anti-corruption campaign Operation Fox. Guo Wengui became also a topic of the agenda in the White House as some members of the Oval office thought about giving him to China, but a majority and also Trump rejected the idea.However, Guo Wengui and Steve Bannon engaged I the US election and became main supporters for Trump as they circulated alleged sex videos and (des) information about Joe Biden´s son Hunter which claimed that he was in one bed with the CCP. They also started a campaign that the Covid virus was deliberate biological warfare by China against the rest of the world.

Two posters with images of three men and logos of the New Federal State of China.
Posters created by the New Federal State of China featuring Guo Wengui, Steve Bannon and President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Mr Guo claimed earlier this year that Mr Giuliani was joining the cause.(Supplied)

Within the Chinese opposition, the critics of Guo Wengui became louder. They criticized that instead of political contents he was just distributing corrupt filth, sex and crime stories and as he would have not new pieces of information would also fabricate fake news. Also, his partisan siding with Trump and Bannon and his offensives against Biden and his son and involvement in the US elections was hazardous to the Chinese opposition. Guo Wengu in return accused the critics to be spies of the CCP and even threatened some opposition critics as his former ally James Pang or the honorable pastor Fu with murder. Therefore the Chinese opposition became a hot topic for the mainstream media from Washington Post to ABC News (see article below).Some opposition members also questioned his motives and asked if Guo Wengui himself was not a Chinese spy, send to discredit, paralyze and split the Chinese opposition and US politics.However, Guo Wengui is a target of the CCP´s Operation Fox Hunt. But it seems that there are now also allegations of fraud  against him from the side of  investors in the USA:

“Companies tied to Chinese exile Guo Wengui to pay $539 million to settle SEC action

Guo Wengui has partnered with former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon to build a large online following

Three media companies tied to exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui have agreed to pay $539 million to settle regulatory claims they violated investor-protection laws when they raised money from over 5,000 investors.

The announcement resolves an investigation that targeted a sale of stock and digital assets last year, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies said the money they raised would be used to build a news and social-media platform that would be „the only uncensored and independent bridge between China and the Western world,“ according to the fundraising documents.

The three businesses—GTV Media Group Inc., Saraca Media Group Inc. and Voice of Guo Media Inc.—settled the SEC’s probe without admitting or denying wrongdoing. The total monetary sanctions include over $480 million that must be repaid to investors and $35 million in fines, the SEC said.

Attorneys for the three companies didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

Mr. Guo, a former real-estate developer who fled China a few years ago, has portrayed himself as a wealthy dissident of the Communist Party. Once he took up residence in New York, he used a partnership with former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon to build a large online following. In China, he has faced longstanding allegations of money laundering, fraud and other crimes, all of which he has denied, and has applied for asylum in the U.S.

The total fines ordered in the case constitute one of the SEC’s largest enforcement cases of its fiscal year, which ends in September. The deal calls for the companies to post a notice of the regulatory case on their websites and to repay proceeds of their fundraising within two weeks. The SEC often sets up what it calls a „fair fund,“ whose administrator distributes money back to harmed investors.

„The remedies ordered by the commission today, which include a fair fund distribution, will provide meaningful relief to investors in these illegal offerings,“ said Richard Best, the director of the SEC’s New York regional office.

GTV and Saraca raised some of their money from individual investors who didn’t meet wealth and income requirements for the deal, the SEC said in a settlement order. Under U.S. law, companies that target such smaller investors must file financial disclosures with the SEC and provide the information publicly.

Voice of Guo targeted many of the smaller investors who bought into the deal, some of whom invested $100 or less, the SEC said.

The SEC said GTV and Saraca transferred about $100 million of the capital they raised to a hedge fund, which used about $30 million to trade spot currencies and derivatives. The fund had investment losses of about $29 million as of late July, the SEC said.

The companies also raised money by selling assets called G-Coins and G-Dollars, which they marketed on YouTube, Twitter and other social-media websites. They said the digital tokens could be used to buy goods and services on the media platform they planned to build. The businesses didn’t develop or distribute the digital assets they sold, according to regulators.

The fundraising by GTV had deeply divided the Chinese diaspora in the U.S., with many investors in the venture later growing convinced that they had been defrauded. After some of these people began contacting the SEC and law enforcement, Mr. Guo attacked them repeatedly online, calling them proxies for China’s Communist Party. Supporters of Mr. Guo then began showing up at the homes of his detractors.“

The exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui runs news sites and foundations in the USA that transport conspiracy ideologies on a large scale: pro-Trump, radically anti-communist and popular with many QAnon supporters. o For several months he has also been building branches of his network in Germany. Activists translate his conspiracy stories into German and spread them on social media. o The danger of ideologies like QAnon has long been underestimated. Through the Guo network, QAnon could find more followers in Germany. Have you heard of this before?  That the researcher Yan Li-Meng, who fled China, is said to have proven that the corona virus is a Chinese biological weapon created in the laboratory?  That US President-elect Joe Biden’s family was bought by Chinese oligarchs?  That the recent US elections were manipulated with voting computers from the manufacturer „Dominion“? Then you may have come into direct or indirect contact with the conspiracy network of the exiled Chinese entrepreneur Guo Wengui. Key tenets of these successful conspiracy narratives began on the websites of Guo and his supporters. This is shown by research by the US media „New York Times“ and „Foreign Policy“. Guo now wants to convince people in Germany of these and similar stories. Guo Wengui was one of the richest Chinese, but in 2014 he had a conflict with the party leadership and fled to the United States. Since then he has been on a crusade against real and perceived influence of the Chinese Communist Party worldwide. The corona pandemic, protests against police violence or Trump’s election defeat: all of this was deliberately orchestrated by Beijing, he claims. These are often unproven conspiracy myths. He shares his views on podcasts, TV shows and social media. According to his own statements, his website „Gnews“ is now one of the 50 most visited news sites in the USA. He is supported by influential right-wing publicists in the USA such as ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

In the US, Guo runs the news website Gnews, the online channel G-TV and various social media channels. They are now spreading conspiracy content in 14 languages, including German more and more frequently. Guo has massively expanded its foreign language offerings since the spring and established local branches of his network in many countries. In the flowery language of his organization, Guo calls them „Himalaya farms.“ Activists from these „Himalaya farms“ are translating the English and Chinese content of „Gnews“ into the local language and sharing it across countless social media channels The US-based organization NewsGuard develops software against disinformation. It rates the credibility of „Gnews“ with 7.5 out of 100 possible points. The website had „repeatedly published incorrect content“, met virtually no quality criteria and „spread conspiracy theories about Covid-19“. Abstruse rumors, which were previously only discussed among activists of the QAnon conspiracy cult in the USA, find their way into German Telegram chat groups and „Querdenker“ demonstrations. „Europe is crucial,“ Guo said in a video message on June 15. „The Himalayan farms are embassies of the New State of China in the respective regions and countries.“ „New State of China“ is the name of a fantasy government that Guo wants to set up after the fall of the communist dictatorship in China. „We will have a headquarters in Great Britain and a base in Italy. It will certainly be the same in Germany and in Japan as well,“ says Guo, describing the scope of his plans. The local „Himalaya farms“ also play a crucial role in funding the Guo media network. „[There] must be uniform standards. Of all funds donated to this process, 50 percent will go to fund the local Himalayan farm,“ Guo said on May 27. The remainder goes to the organization’s headquarters in the USA as a „collective development fund“. If not enough is donated, some activists are even pilloried by Guo: „Many people have donated one US dollar, two US dollars or five US dollars and joined the Himalaya farms. (…) This represents for us an insult.“ Guo himself claims to be investing a total of $100 million in the network.

wengui 29th August, Odeonsplatz Munich: Activists of the Guo network protest against the Chinese goverment
Quelle: Discord Himalaya Farm Germany

The German Twitter account of „Himalaya Farm Germany“ is managed by a person with the pseudonym „Mild Seven“. He writes German-language articles on „Gnews“ every day and is listed as an author or translator on various other platforms. The German media had been bought by China, according to one of his accusations against ZDFheute. „Who I am is not important. What is important is what we do. If you are interested in our fight, our G-platforms are best suited for it. There you will get heaps of news and videos censored by the German Deep State.“ Around 1,000 supporters of the German offshoot are currently organized on the Discord platform. The organization First Draft News, which has been working on online disinformation for years, said he was probably operating out of Munich. „Compared to its activities in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, the Himalayan movement in Europe is still relatively young,“ according to First Draft News.

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