Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire and associate of Steve Bannon, was denied bail on Thursday after being charged in a $1 billion fraud case in March. https://t.co/q0Ojt7A1ah
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 23, 2023
Given the individuals involved, it’s very difficult (at least for me) to tell how much of Guo Wengui’s recent career is bog-standard grifting, how much is Republican / authoritarian attempts at ratf*cking, and how much just might be supported by hostile foreign actors:
… U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres rejected Guo’s proposed bail package, saying he must remain behind bars pending trial because there is “no condition or set of conditions” that would ensure his return to court or the safety of the community, according to the court order.
Torres said Guo “has means and know-how to flee.” While law enforcement officials have confiscated two passports and copies of another passport from Guo, the judge said a “clever defendant with sufficient resources could figure out a way to leave the country without travel documents.”
It was on Guo’s yacht that Bannon, the former chief White House strategist and adviser to former President Donald Trump, was arrested in a fraud case in 2020. Trump pardoned Bannon in 2021.
In hopes of obtaining bail, Guo’s lawyer, Stephen Cook, said in a court filing that Guo would remain in the country if he was released on bond, “because the risk to his life is simply too great for him to leave.” …
Guo is an exiled Chinese businessman and has lived in the United States since around 2015. He was arrested and charged by federal authorities in New York in March for allegedly orchestrating a complex conspiracy to defraud thousands of his online followers out of more than $1 billion.
Prosecutors allege that Guo promised his followers “outsized financial returns and other benefits.” Guo then misappropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of the fraudulently obtained funds, which went towards his lavish lifestyle…
Meanwhile, the judge said GPS monitoring for Guo would be “inadequate,” because “ankle monitors can be removed and ensure only a reduced head start should a defendant decide to flee.” Torres also nixed his suggestion of using private security, citing that it’s “not as reliable as a federal jail.”
“Further, Defendant’s past obstructive conduct in civil litigation, in his bankruptcy proceeding, and in this case, as well as his actions following the SEC order and the seizure of funds, demonstrate that the Court does not have reasonable assurance that Defendant will abide by any conditions of pretrial release,” she added.
Some of the people Guo oversaw at Gettr, a Twitter knock-off, had access to its users’ personal information, including phone numbers, IP addresses, and birth dates, according to two former employees. https://t.co/KNRZqwibJw
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) April 21, 2023
Another set of data points:
Early last year, around 30 engineers at the social media company Gettr received a WhatsApp audio message from Guo Wengui, a wealthy Chinese exile with deep ties to US right-wing politics. Guo, who has since been accused by the Justice Department of running a massive fraud scheme, was pissed. He berated Gettr’s chief technology officer, Joe Wang, complaining that Wang “didn’t deliver” on a January 22 deadline—Chinese New Year—for launching a new video feature.
Wang responded by explaining that he was following a schedule approved by Gettr CEO Jason Miller. Miller’s team was “quite satisfied” with tests on the feature but felt Guo’s schedule was too fast, Wang said. Bad move.
“Do you obey Jason or me?” Guo asked in a follow-up audio message…
At the time of the messages between Guo and the engineers, Miller claimed that Guo had no involvement at all in Gettr’s day-to-day operations. Gettr and Miller, who this February left the company to rejoin his former boss, Donald Trump, as a senior adviser to Trump’s 2024 campaign, also maintained that Guo had not personally invested in Gettr.
Those claims were pretty clearly bogus, even at the time. In January 2022, Mother Jones published audio messages Guo had sent to Miller, in which Guo seemed to give Miller directions on how to handle a problem: podcaster Joe Rogan, who had just joined Gettr, was publicly mocking the app. Those messages suggested that Guo exercised major sway at Gettr.
But extensive audio files and WhatsApp messages sent to and from Guo that Mother Jones has since obtained and translated, along with the accounts of former Gettr employees and people involved in the company’s launch, further highlight the extent of Guo’s control over the company. The mogul was particularly involved in overseeing the Gettr’s tech employees, who were mostly Chinese speakers. Technology executives reported to Guo—sometimes via his executive assistant Yanping “Yvette” Wang, who was also his representative on the Gettr board—and he set budgets and priorities, former employees said…
Gettr helped Guo connect with other Trump World figures. One was Miller, who Gettr paid $750,000 a year, along with a $250,000 annual bonus, according to filings in a Florida child support case involving Miller…
According to Badejo and the tech development official, people working for Gettr contractors—including unpaid Guo supporters outside the US—could have had access to the DMs, phone numbers, or personal email addresses of Gettr’s estimated 7.5 million users. That includes famous account holders like Pompeo and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Gettr also has millions of Chinese speaking users, former employees said. Many of them are critics of the Chinese government. That is a group that China’s intelligence service, which is notorious for snooping on Chinese emigres abroad, is presumably eager to gather information on…
Must read on Guo Wengui, who went from working for China’s state security service to subsidizing Bannon & Giuliani, and peddling election lies for Trump @eosnos @NewYorker https://t.co/iJZ0lZKLqn
— Noah Barkin 🇺🇦 (@noahbarkin) October 17, 2022
Not sure I got around to sharing this 2022 profile earlier (it’s very complicated!):
… For nearly a decade, he had maintained a secret partnership with one of China’s most powerful spymasters, an intelligence officer named Ma Jian, who had recently been arrested by his own government. Caixin, a Chinese investigative news organization, reported that Ma and Guo had used surveillance, blackmail, and political influence to amass fortunes and evade scrutiny.
Guo denied any wrongdoing; he told a Hong Kong newspaper that he and Ma were just friends, who had met through work and bonded over a shared appreciation for architecture. But, two years later, he changed his story dramatically. He acknowledged that he had been a longtime “affiliate” of China’s all-pervasive Ministry of State Security. The agency, he said, had tasked him with “handling things for them” and connecting with “sensitive figures” abroad, travelling on eleven different passports and employing the code name Wu Nan.
Even more startling, he subsequently declared himself an enemy of the Chinese Communist Party—a position almost unheard-of among China’s élite. He applied for political asylum in the United States, and founded a media network, which broadcast incendiary criticisms of the C.C.P. and enthusiastic support for Trump. His businesses reportedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump advisers, including Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, and the attorney L. Lin Wood, who joined efforts to overturn the 2020 election. As Guo’s neighbors at the Sherry-Netherland watched in confusion, he established himself as an election denier, a vaccine skeptic, and a right-wing provocateur, with a degree of influence that is virtually unique among foreign citizens on American soil.
Through the decades, Washington has attracted no shortage of wealthy figures who learned to surf the rivalries in American politics. But how, exactly, a Chinese intelligence collaborator was reborn as a darling of Trump Republicans is a measure of the shifting folkways of conservative politics, and the extraordinary power that accrues to people with the wealth and savvy to command the technologies of influence. Depending on whom you believe, Guo has been either an asset of the F.B.I. or a target of its suspicions, or perhaps both at the same time. Under one alias or another—including Miles Kwok, Guo Haoyun, and Ho Wan Kwok—he has been sued numerous times for defamation, libel, and inflicting emotional distress, and has sued many others on similar grounds. The Chinese government says that he is under investigation in at least nineteen cases, for allegations that include bribery, money laundering, and rape—all of which he denies, attributing them to a propaganda campaign. (Guo and his attorneys declined requests to comment for this article.)
Some observers argue that Guo’s disruptive behavior makes sense only if he is still linked to the Chinese state. In a federal court filing from 2019, a private intelligence firm in a business dispute with him claimed that he “was, and is, a dissident-hunter, propagandist, and agent in the service of the People’s Republic of China.” Guo denied the accusation and won the case, but the court left open the question of his actual identity. “The evidence at trial does not permit the Court to decide whether Guo is, in fact, a dissident or a double agent,” Judge Lewis J. Liman wrote. “Others will have to determine who the true Guo is.”…
Eventually, Guo began talking to American officials directly, though he revealed little of himself. A former government official told me, “The first time the U.S. Embassy ran across Guo Wengui, that wasn’t the name he was using—it was Miles Kwok. He introduced himself and talked to the embassy, and the embassy filed several cables. The narrative he gave was that he was a princeling”—a son of the powerful élite. “He made up this whole biography. The embassy did a little bit of digging, and it all fell apart.” Still, it seemed possible that he had valuable information. Diplomats dined with Guo at his hotel periodically, and he spoke with unusual candor about which Chinese leaders were womanizing and embezzling. He claimed to have witnessed some of them cavorting on his own private jet. “He’d dish,” the former diplomat said.
In Washington, some of those who heard Guo’s tales suspected that they were exaggerations, or disinformation meant to tarnish rivals and confuse Americans about Beijing politics. But people who encountered Guo were struck by his access to the government…
Ultimately, Guo landed in New York, where he submitted his application for the penthouse at the Sherry-Netherland. It was increasingly clear that he might never go back to China. He needed to master a new terrain, and so he started with a game he knew: intelligence. Around the world, the F.B.I. maintains thousands of formal and informal sources, ranging from government bureaucrats to shoe shiners who monitor foot traffic on a street corner. Some have civic motives, in the way of a grandmother on a porch who quietly notes the make and model of a drug dealer’s car. But in most cases the relationships are transactional. The source wants money or protection from prosecution; the handler, as one former agent told me, is “trying to juice as much utility out of that person” as possible.
In New York, Guo spoke to the F.B.I. about Chinese leaders’ financial and private lives, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement. “He knew who had girlfriends, who had boyfriends,” a former Bureau official recalled. More important, Guo knew which Party families profited from which companies: “Just going to Miles and asking him these questions will save you three or four months of analytical work.” In one instance, the official said, Guo provided information about Xi Jinping’s daughter while she was attending college in the U.S.
The C.I.A. was less impressed; analysts concluded that Guo could not be trusted to keep secrets. But the F.B.I. remained in contact. “If you ask ten different F.B.I. and C.I.A. people about Miles, you’re going to get seven different answers,” the former Bureau official said. “It’s not always perfect. But no source is.” The official added, “He knows that he needs us to protect him. So he’ll constantly give just enough.” …
In January, 2017, soon after Trump’s Inauguration, Guo activated his Twitter account and sat for the first of a series of interviews in the overseas Chinese media. He accused some of China’s most senior leaders of corruption. He focussed on Wang Qishan, the Party’s anti-corruption chief, claiming that his relatives were hidden stakeholders in HNA, the profitable parent company of Hainan Airlines, and that they owned American real estate worth as much as ten million dollars. Guo posted personal information online, including passports and flight records. (HNA denied the claims and sued Guo for defamation.)
He started live-streaming from the penthouse and the deck of Lady May, offering other salacious, often unproved, allegations. His social-media accounts attracted hundreds of thousands of followers, mostly Chinese expatriates—many of whom avidly supported Trump, because of his criticisms of China. Guo declared it the beginning of a “whistle-blower movement,” and extolled his own courage: “Guo Wengui is from the grass roots, born as a farmer, and not afraid of death.”…
The politics of Beijing had prepared Guo well for navigating Trump’s Washington—another realm where money bought influence, business mixed with government, and truth merged with fiction. Guo used his resources to make inroads in Trump’s world. Bill Gertz, a China specialist at the Washington Free Beacon, posted stories on Guo and his claims, calling him a “leading Chinese dissident”—until Gertz left, in 2019, after failing to disclose that he took a hundred-thousand-dollar loan from one of Guo’s associates. (Gertz did not respond to a request for comment.) Nevertheless, Gertz helped introduce Guo to influential conservatives, including the man who would become his most important collaborator: Steve Bannon…
After Bannon was pushed out of the White House, in August, 2017, he and Guo met at the Hay-Adams Hotel, in Washington. “We spent six hours just talking,” Bannon said. Like Guo, Bannon was in search of new allies. The Mercer family, the conservative funders who had backed his earlier ventures, were breaking with him. Bannon was preparing to relaunch his media career, and, as a White House colleague put it, he needed a “new sugar daddy.”
On the afternoon of June 4, 2020, bobbing on a boat in New York Harbor, Guo and Bannon held a live-streamed press event to announce a joint initiative. The two were an unusual sight: the exuberant Chinese tycoon in a dark, double-breasted suit, alongside the glowering American with his rumpled silver hair and distinctive assemblage of collared shirts. The setting had been carefully arranged, with planes trailing banners overhead and Guo’s yacht and the Statue of Liberty in the background. The date marked the anniversary of the crackdown at Tiananmen Square.
Peering into a camera, Guo announced the establishment of a shadow government, which he called the New Federal State of China. In Mandarin, he made an impassioned call to arms. “We can’t keep dreaming anymore. We need to take action, action, action!” he shouted, slicing the air with his hand. Bannon, who does not speak Chinese, stood by awkwardly. In 2018, he had signed a yearlong deal with one of Guo’s companies for “strategic consulting services,” at a cost of a million dollars…
In the intelligence community, Guo’s disclosures on China were fuelling skepticism. When he released what he described as an internal Party plan to boost the number of spies in America, some specialists deemed it a forgery. “It had some of the right things, but it’s a very particular kind of art—how they number, where they put certain markings,” the former government official said. But it was not until the fall of 2020 that the expats who formed the core of Guo’s audience began to question his loyalties. Faced with growing criticism of his falsehoods and his dubious ventures, Guo denounced many of the most prominent Chinese dissidents in America as “fake pro-democracy activists,” and said that they “should be beaten up as soon as we see them.” He called on his followers to join what he called Operation Elimination of Fake Activists…
Some American observers speculate that Guo never entirely broke away from Chinese intelligence. One popular theory holds that he hopes to return to China and regain some of his stature, so he has maintained ties to factions in Beijing. Chris Johnson, a former C.I.A. analyst on China, told me that Guo’s disclosures must be read not only for “the people that he chooses to name, but also the people he does not name.”
If Guo does represent a faction of the Chinese government, the best bet is that it’s composed of powerful families and security officials who have been harmed by Xi’s purges. For all Guo’s fulminating against the Party, the attendee at the Oval Office meeting said, “he’s not anti-C.C.P. He just views himself as a counter to Xi. This is an intra-C.C.P. fight.” Teng, the dissident, shares that view. He suspects that Guo is seeking to “replace some C.C.P. leaders with officials more inclined in his favor.” The goal, he says, is to “replace well-fed tigers with hungry tigers.”
But, in the serpentine logic of intelligence, another theory suggests that Guo is actually representing a faction loyal to Xi, which is using him to attack rivals. He has rarely criticized Xi by name, and some of the strongest evidence against Guo’s description of himself as a dissident has come from his own words…
In the strange economics of Trumpworld, the former President’s electoral loss was a gift to his supporters in the media—the radio hosts and conspiracy theorists who profit from grievance. In the months after January 6th, GTV and its related businesses were operating from an office tower overlooking Columbus Circle. One day that September, Guo summoned a collection of former Trump aides to the office for a live stream on the subject of China. To his left sat Peter Navarro, a former business-school professor who had served as Trump’s trade adviser and as his Administration’s most ardent China hawk. Navarro, who wore a windbreaker with “TeamTrump” stencilled on the chest, looked gaunt and glumly captive—a fierce critic of China working with a self-acknowledged former affiliate of the country’s spy services. Bannon had on a black sport coat over a black shirt, with another shirt underneath. He was seated beside Jason Miller, the former spokesman and now the C.E.O. of Gettr, one of several new social-media networks vying to attract conservative users. It, too, had received funding from Guo…
It is tempting to dismiss Guo as just another wacky artifact of the Trump era. But, if Trump proved anything, it is that seemingly unpersuasive figures can have a lasting effect if they find political partners who, like Bannon, focus only on outcomes. In September, Mike Pompeo, one of several Trump Administration veterans who are competing to be the most hawkish on China, appeared in a video all but calling on Xi’s citizens to rise up against the government. “There is no bigger enemy for the C.C.P. than you, the Chinese people,” he said. Bannon was thrilled. “That was just unheard-of five years ago,” he said, and offered a prediction: “That will be the plank in the Republican Party in 2024. There’ll be a huge platform fight over saying that the Chinese Communist Party is not the legitimate government of China.” He credited Guo, saying, “He’s changed the Overton window in this country.” ♦
ChiCom operative through and through. Fraud is his side hustle. Only kind of person that would pal around with a shit stain like Bannon.
These fucking suicidal clowns. Crash the economy, and nakedly incite an already agitated nuclear power. Just douse yourselves in fucking gasoline and set yourselves on fire already , leave the rest of us out of it.
Tryna to remember why it is the rest of the lot still walks free . . .
OpenThread, but kinda off-topic, but I found it interesting – I hope folks here do as well.
This afternoon I heard a rebroadcast of How I Built This/Planet Money with a segment from September 29, 2022 (about 7 months ago) with Sam Altman of OpenAI/GPT 3 fame. Auto-generated transcript (with some light edits):
We’re in trouble if people start believing this stuff – at this stage – is actual intelligence rather than just stringing words together…
This is not reassuring.
Wondering out loud if this ties into China having illegal “police stations” in North America.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Is it just me or is does Gettr sound like “Get her”? Like, Twitter makes sense as a name for a social media platform where you can send short messages, Tweets, as in the sounds that birds make. Twitter means “chirps”. What does “Gettr” supposed to even refer to? Getter’ done?
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Another concern could be this stuff, along with AI that can imitate human voices scarily well compared to even a few years ago, could replace humans in many different kinds of occupations, mostly common office jobs
Yes, like we haven’t trained cats to empty their own litter pans into garbage bags and take those out to the dumpster. I am sometimes baffled by how these people are so gung-ho enthusiastic about how they’ll soon be making their own creation do what it inherently cannot do.
EDIT – @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
You know, voice duplication is one area where I’m really not sure what the limits are. I’ve played around with these synthesizers, and they can be very powerful, but I don’t know if you can train them to know what emotional inflections are appropriate when speaking. Rhythm and tone are hugely important. Maybe it can be done? Maybe it’s impossible? This one, I don’t know.
@Another Scott: I’m again gonna reiterate, humans are fucking stupid and the overwhelming majority of our discourse is bullshit anyway.
But yeah, no one should take AI generated text as authoritative. But they also shouldn’t take Wikipedia articles as authoritative either, and here we are.
How are these things different in todays world? Any one of them is usually intermixed with the other two, inside the US at least.
@Frankensteinbeck: What you should be able to do with voice, eventually at least, is take a voice sample with your intended inflection and intonation and apply a different tonal sound that mimics the other person’s speech, like style transfer for art. Otherwise it’s just going to have to guess at your intention. You could maybe give it hints but you won’t have fine grained control.
As to AI generative models giving, to some human acceptable level of, factually accurate responses, as long as there’s an authoritative knowledge base that the AI can fall back on I don’t see why it’s impossible to get it to do a much better job there. Watson was capable of winning at Jeopardy, and had a confidence interval for it’s responses; the AI can start saying “I don’t know” instead of making stuff up if it isn’t confident in its response, as long as it has some way of discriminating it’s output against an authoritative source.
Bing Chat is an improvement over Chat-GPT in this respect, though still very imperfect, since it’s at least looking at (and citing) web data more directly; they both do a pretty good job at holding context from inputs and facts are just another kind of context. But the web isn’t accurate enough to really work as a knowledge base imo. And way too easy to game. But that’s already a problem.
There’s nothing otherwise impossible about it though, once you have a way of establishing a valid source of truth.
That writeup on Guo, it reminds me of Borges’ Library of Babel.
@Doug R: Wait, what?
@Urza: It seems far more Occam’s-Razor likely that Guo is an agent of the PRC government than that he operates independently of it.
I keep getting distracted about the part that says Jason Miller was involved in a child-related court dispute, which strongly suggests that at some point in the past, someone willingly had sex with him. This is difficult to fathom.
…count me as believing it’s innately interwoven, …all of a piece.
…which is also true in regards all forms of data distribution reaching back to the days of oral traditions.
As always, that’s gonna continue to be problematic.
But that is exactly the thing you will never have. A source like that will not only be finite, but infinitesimally small compared to the demands placed on it by the general public. You can’t train it to identify valid sources. They look just like fakes, thanks to the human tendency to be confidently wrong and, sun pony help us, satire. You can only identify specific trustworthy data sets, which cripples the bot. Too little information to work with. If you’re happy with a voice activated search program… we’re still nowhere near that, because the questions people ask tend to be so nuanced but imprecise in phrasing.
Yeah, asking it widely known, specific, and clearly phrased facts it should be good enough to beat most humans. Game shows are a place it will shine.
I admired when they put that in. It doesn’t stop the AI from being confidently wrong, and it does nothing to make it better at providing the information it’s going “I don’t know” about, but it was good of the creators to admit their system has limits. Much better than letting people think it can do anything.
West of the Rockies
Must have been a dive bar in Stockton with slim pickings. He was a 2 at ten, and a 10 at two.
If there’s basically a line from DJT to Jason Miller to Guo Wengui, and a line from DJT to Steve Bannon to Guo Wengui, what are the chances that the two major scam artists aren’t directly linked?
DJT <> GW
@Frankensteinbeck: The standard is not perfect, it’s human level good, for accuracy.
At minimum it means not making stuff up whole cloth.
Over time I can see it being able to cross reference multiple sources, to do a better job of highlighting what it’s sources are, whether there’s competing data, and doing the general sort of things humans do to try to improve our fact checking. No reason it can’t weight science journals and .gov websites over random reddit posts, if we tell it to.
Should be good at doing meta-analysis on research studies eventually too, as that also has a finite dataset. Also useful for internal knowledge bases inside organizations, and support services against a known issues platform and known technical specifications.
But they absolutely need to fix it making stuff up outside of creative modes for these kinds of use cases to work.
@West of the Rockies: I still can’t grasp that level of desperation. Makes my brain short out.
@Eolirin: Wiki articles are reasonably reliable in that they have links to source material or notes that something is not confirmed. Obvs, there is stuff in there that’s unreliable but for my purposes (mostly confirming info I need for legal transcripts) it works well.
@Maxim: How soon they forget! He fucked another Trump campaign staffer while his wife was pregnant, impregnating the staffer, then denied the kid was his, then tried to hide his income to avoid child support.
He and the staffer deserve each other. Trash all the way down.
@Maxim: The Jason Miller that had a kid with a woman he was having an affair with during the 2016 election cycle….the woman he tried to induce an abortion by slipping medication into her smoothie….that Jason Miller?
Major Major Major Major
Doesn’t pass the smell test. Gettr has 30+ engineers?
If trump wins in 2024 🤮 and this guy is convicted I assume he’ll get a pardon.
Major Major Major Major
Speaking of twitter clones, very much enjoying hanging out on bluesky! Twitter has really damaged a lot of people’s social media habits (and a lot of people) and it’s so nice to have a community of nice people building rad stuff. Early days, we’ll see if the culture and tech can survive an expanded beta. Even if it ends up being nothing more than “free & open twitter” that will be a huge improvement.
Major Major Major Major
@karen marie: I don’t know how true this is these days, but an analysis back when I was in college in 200*cough* found a higher error rate in Brittanica than Wikipedia.
A fairly widely-held opinion in the philosophy of mind is that all intelligence does is “try to predict the next token”. We just have a very large corpus.
@Major Major Major Major:
Wikipedia does seem generally reliable, if you read with a critical eye. I think it benefits from a “stan peer review” effect, where people who are intensely interested in a subject are willing to engage in edit wars to get at the “truth.” I can’t remember seeing a Wikipedia entry that was complete bullshit. The worst I see is a “P.R. puff piece” slant on minor political or social figures that no one cares much about.
One thing I especially like about Wikipedia is that it’s a great source for obscure but specific information, e.g., exhaustive detail about your favorite band from senior year in high school. You won’t find that in Britannica!
“Nickelback is the warmest, kindest, most wonderful band ever!”
😹 But you just bolstered my point. Nickelback. Love ’em or hate ’em, the article is pretty solid.
(And thanks for not spelling it “Nickleback.”)
@Maxim: It was A. J. Delgado, when she was working on the 2016 election for TFG. Quite a disgusting scandal.
@sukabi: That would be the guy, yes.
@Major Major Major Major: If Trump is legitimately elected once more, …we would all have something to answer for.
You have to love that A J Delgado has a story about Jason Miller hiring prostitutes pinned to the top of her twitter
@sukabi: I believe the woman he tried to poison and induce an abortion was a stripper he impregnated. AJ Delgado is the former Trump staffer who actually had his child. FWIW
What I don’t understand is why Steve Bannon is not in jail.
@Doug R: If you are really curious about what the “overseas Chinese polices stations” are & aren’t, check out Jeremy Daum at Yale & his relevant twitter threads under the handle “ChinaLawTranslate”.
Long story short, while the CCP regime absolutely targets select Chinese emigrés overseas – whomever the regime deems as a potential threat (separatists, dissidents, fugitive corrupt officials/businessmen, or high profile critics in general), & are quite aggressive in doing so, the so called “overseas police stations” are not likely to be the means. Instead, these facilities really are generally are aimed at providing remote services to Chinese emigrants living overseas (such as for renewal of driver’s licenses & national ID cards) via video link, especially due to the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic. One evidence is that these outposts are/were setup by a relatively small number of county level Police bureaus, counties that had been main sources of illegal Chinese immigrants to the West (& not where Chinese dissidents or separatists typically hail from), places such as Lianjiang County in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. No Chinese police officers are known to have been staffed at any of these facilities. The cook or waiters in a Chinese take out in a middle-of-nowhere small town, USA? Likely are illegal immigrants from Fujian, very possibly Lianjiang County. Surveillance & intimidation of overseas Chinese emigrés is the job of the Ministry of State Security (intelligence & counterintelligence), not the Ministry of Public Security (police), & it would be led by the national level bureaucracy & not the local level.
The relevant county level Public Security Bureaus did not hide these overseas efforts, indeed they were touted on the official webpages as examples of government innovation in providing services to Chinese nationals overseas. The news releases were removed when such efforts triggered bad press in Western MSM.
I would not be surprised if the Chinese MSS has exploits in the Gettr APP, using it as a Trojan Horse to access the mobile devices of its users. This could be true even if Guo is not an MSS double agent. Its software development seems like a fly by night operation.