Controversial Chinese activist/rebel/dissident Miles Kwok (郭文贵 Guo Wen Gui) escaped from China in 2014 when he was 73rd richest man in the country. The very next year, Chinese publication Caixin 财心 published information on Guo’s political connections, business dealings, and hardball tactics against former rivals to unmask him as a crook.
In retaliation, 郭文贵 started an online campaign to smear Caixin’s Hu Shuli and members of the CCP. He also declared that he was part of the shady system in China, but the former Guo Wen Gui was dead. He then made his way to America to begin his new life. In April 2017, an Interpol notice was issued for Guo’s arrest, requested by the Chinese government. Trump declined the request to extradite him.
From around 2018, his random rants on social media evolved into 爆料革命, a series of long-winded, rambling, unscripted monologues revealing dark secrets about Chinese office holders. Though some of his outrageous accusations turned out to be true, many of his unsubstantiated claims are believed to be fabricated. Nevertheless, his campaign grew into an online as well as an offline organisation with many partners and volunteers. Their ultimate aim was allegedly to bring down the CCP and bring democracy to China.
Not surprisingly, Guo Wen Gui’s 爆料革命 appealed to many anti-communist Chinese people living overseas. He was not only able to gain a faithful following among them, he was even able to coax then to donate money. On June 3, 2020, while aboard Guo’s yacht in New York City waterways, he and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon participated in an event declaring a “New Federal State of China” that “would overthrow the Chinese government”. Guo and Bannon later co-founded GTV Media Group in 2020, which operates the Chinese video website GTV. Fans of Guo had shared a lot of news from GTV with me during the pandemic, but I seriously doubted the credibility of the channel. I realised that while most of the conspiracy theories are just unsubstantiated, some are blatantly false.
Later that year, GTV companies were investigated by federal and state authorities for illegal fundraising. The following year, the companies reached an SEC settlement to repay over $480 million to more than 5,000 investors as well as $35 million in fines.
Finally, Guo was arrested on March 15, 2023 in New York by Federal authorities, for conspiracy to defraud his online followers out of more than $1 billion. These included $452 million in unregistered offering and $150 million in loans for GTV, in addition to $250 million for membership programmes and $262 million for the Himalaya Exchange cryptocurrency project. Guo is currently held without bail as there is a risk that he could mobilise trusting supporters through his tremendous influence on social media.
So who is the real Guo Wen Gui? Rebel, dissident or just a conman. Well, as the saying goes, it takes one to know one. Guo’s campaign against the Chinese government is really a case of mafia versus mafia. Miles Kwok, 郭文贵 may seem like a hero in the above video but we must forgive Western media in 2015 for not being able to dig deeper into Miles Kwok’s background as a lot of it is still shrouded in secrecy. These secrets are held by the Chinese government which risks incriminating itself by revealing them. Let me show you the real Guo Wen Gui through the dark and stinky alleys of the business world in China .
Miles Kwok begins his life story in a poverty-stricken village in Shandong Province. How did he rise to become a real estate tycoon? Nobody seemed to be able to provide information about Guo as a child, but in the 1980s, there were rumours in business circles about an incredibly eloquent young man living in Puyang, Henan Province. His name was 郭文贵. In spite of his youth, he was able to boast convincingly that he had a lot connections with the authorities.
As it turned out, Guo was a conman. After receiving his commission, he would disappear and become uncontactable. He collected thousands of RMB this way. After police reports were made against him, the police arrived at his home to arrest him. He resisted arrest and called out to his younger brother fight the “intruders”. His younger brother stormed out of the kitchen with a cleaver. The police opened fired in self defence and shot him dead.
But wasn’t his brother killed during the 1989 Tiananmen protests? That’s what he tells us. Guo had also claimed that he had been detained for taking part in the protests. However, investigators have dug up records stating that Guo was detained for fraud between 28 May to 19 August 1989. He conveniently lied that he had been detained for activism. After his detention, he left Puyang for Zhuhai. It was here that he met HK businesswoman Xia Ping. Impressed by his oratory skills, Xia employed Guo Wen Gui as a member of her sales staff in her real estate business. He soon became her top sales executive.
In the late 1990s, Xia Ping decided to expand her business into the mainland. Through information from his mainland contacts, Guo discovered that the Zhengzhou government was planning to redevelop an old estate. Xia Ping set up a new company in Zhengzhou to redevelop old estates. Guo was put in charge of the project and awarded shares in the company. That business would grow to become Zhengzhou Yuda Real Estate.
270 million RMB were invested in luxury hotels, apartments and offices. It’s not known how much of that money ended up in Guo Wen Gui’s pockets. He started buying up property in Beijing and employing thugs to harass tenants at Yuda.
Having left the management of Yuda to Guo, Xia Ping who was a Hongkonger, was puzzled as to why business was so bad. Guo offered to take over the entire business to relieve Xia of the burden. Yuda was thus sold to Guo for a song. Guo withdrew the thugs, promoted Yuda, but when business failed to pick up at first, he urgently needed money. By then, he had befriended many high ranking officials in the party, having wined and dined them in exclusive clubs in Zhengzhou. He set his eyes on party secretary 郑州市委书记 Wang You Jie 王有杰. Apart from gifts and bribes, Guo pulled Secretary Wang close to him by giving Wang’s son a position in Yuda. When Guo requested for loans, Wang was most obliging. When business at Yuda finally picked up and Wang asked for the money to be returned, Guo reported Wang to the disciplinary committee. Wang was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The next official Guo targeted was Henan chief of Department of Transportation交通部厅长, Shi Fa Liang 石发亮. It does not sound like a very high rank, but chief Shi was managing billions of yuan set aside for infrastructural development.
In 2000, Guo planned to sell office units under Yuda but couldn’t find enough buyers. He approached Shi to suggest moving his offices to his property. Shi rejected the proposal. Guo tempted Shi into his nightclub, got him drunk and sent him up to a hotel room with a hostess. Unknown to Shi, Guo had installed hidden cameras in the room. The chief’s tryst was recorded and he was subsequently blackmailed.
Yuda’s empty units were quickly snapped up. The blackmail continued for years. In 2006, Shi Fa Liang was convicted for bribery, misuse of public funds and sentenced to life imprisonment. Guo’s modus operandi was the same and yet many party officials continued to fall for his tricks. Being extremely cautious in hiding his tracks and able to pit one camp against the other, Guo survived the swim with sharks. He had more bodyguards than some politicians but his elder brother was mysteriously murdered.
Guo’s ambition didn’t stop with Zhengzhou where he was already the richest man. He moved to Beijing and built The Pangu Plaza (Chinese: 盘古大观) is a five mixed use buildings complex comprises an office building, three apartment buildings, clubs, retail and Pangu 7 Star Hotel. The project didn’t take off. Bleeding cash, Guo Wen Gui hunted down Xiang Jun Bo, chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission and chairman of the Agricultural Bank of China. Through Xiang, he managed to obtain a loan of 320 million RMB. Part of the money paid for Pangu’s losses. Part of it went into Guo’s pockets. He comfortably bought a private jet and mansion in Hong Kong.
Investigations into Pangu revealed all the shady transactions (which are still allowed to go on unless you are against the party) and Xiang was sentenced in 2019. Why did Guo Wen Gui suddenly abscond? We can never know for sure, but he and other members of the Jiang gang must have known that Xi Jin Ping was eyeing a pound of flesh from them. According to Guo, however, he was collecting evidence against a corrupt partner and accidentally stumbled on evidence of vice president Wang Qi Shan’s dirty little secrets. To be fair, there is no evidence of that whatsoever.
Some believe that Xi’s war against corruption (which was actually a excuse to bring down Jiang’s gang) Guo was directed by Jiang Zemin, with whom he had worked very closely, to character assassinate Wang Qi Shan overseas in order to bargain for amnesty.
Guo’s mudslinging against Wang Qi Shan did not devastate Wang but Wang had been keeping a low profile throughout his term. Xi’s persecution of Jiang’s cronies including Jack Ma went unabated. Those who have been following Guo Wen Gui’s earlier videos would remember that he stated quite categorically that he was not against Xi’s leadership. Apparently, he (not the only one) was waiting for a truce between the Xi gang and the Jiang gang. Guo could be planning on returning to China after Xi had compromised and toned down his war against “corruption”. That of course, didn’t happen. 郭文贵 ‘s assets in China were seized. Jack Ma was hard hit.
Just as they are taken in by the glittery facade of modern China, what many people didn’t realise is that Miles Kwok did not own very much property or money in America. His lavish lifestyle shown on social media was supported by the Jiang gang in America. He realised that Jiang couldn’t protect him and far from compromising, Xi was all out to get him. That’s when his 爆料革命 turned into an anti-communist movement. As such an intelligent man, Guo couldn’t have been under any illusion that he could get back what the communist party had confiscated. He publicly turned against the party, claimed that it’s for the love of his country, captivated an audience and earned their support and sympathy. As an insider, Guo’s criticism for the CCP and the Chinese elite was always spot on and engaging. He drew audiences worldwide and had a massive following.
Over the next few years, Guo’s anti-CCP movement managed to raise hundreds of millions of USD. Arrested in 2023, he faced 11 charges. His financial adviser Yu Jian Ming was on the run. Donations he collected and spent included a US$37 million yacht, a US$26 million house in New Jersey, a US$140,000 piano, a US$36,000 mattress and a US$3.5 million Ferrari. The chickens have come home to roost. It’s an irony that claiming to fight for democracy, Guo Wen Gui’s lying, cheating and blackmailing ways which helped him rise to the top in China, would put him behind bars in democratic America for a very long time.