The FBI arrested two men on charges of establishing a “secret” police station in New York City on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.
The FBI arrested two men on charges of establishing a “secret” police station in New York City on behalf of the People’s Republic of China and the ruling Communist Party.
- Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping were charged with conspiring to act as foreign agents, with a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and with obstruction of justice, which has a maximum 20-year sentence.
- Per the AP, Lu and Chen were “acting under the direction and control of a Chinese government official and deleted communication with that official from their phones after learning of the FBI’s probe in an apparent effort to obstruct the inquiry, according to the Justice Department.”
- The two men are accused of opening and operating what federal authorities allege was a secret outpost run by China’s Ministry of Public Security. The overseas police station closed in the fall of 2022 after the participants became aware of the FBI probe into the facility.
- Lu is alleged to have attempted to persuade a person identified as a “fugitive” by the PRC to return to China in 2018, and in 2022 was allegedly asked by China’s government to track down a pro-democracy activist living in California.
- The Justice Department also charged about three dozen Chinese national police officers for using social media to harass CCP opponents inside the United States.
- The Brooklyn US Attorney’s office indicted 34 Chinese nationals with conspiracy to transmit foreign threats and conspiracy to commit interstate harassment. All of the defendants, who allegedly operated a “troll farm” to stifle the free speech of anti-PRC dissidents, are at large.
- Monday’s indictments are part of a series of Justice Department inquiries into “transnational repression” by hostile regimes like China and Iran that seek to intimidate, harass – or worse – their political opponents on American soil.
- The Washington Post elaborated that the “troll farm” allegedly used thousands of fake social media accounts across multiple platforms to spread Chinese Communist propaganda and target dissidents.
- The New York Times noted the Chinatown outpost is just one of a network of more than 100 undeclared police stations that the Chinese government operates throughout the world to exert its control over Chinese citizens and anti-regime critics no matter where they live.
- CNN reported Lu and Chen appeared in court on Monday and were released on $250,000 and $400,000 bonds, respectively. Neither man is allowed to be within a half mile of the Chinese consulate nor may they communicate with any potential co-conspirators.
- According to the New York Post, Lu, a Bronx resident, allegedly helped PRC officials find dissidents living in the U.S. Additionally, he surreptitiously took part in demonstrations against the Falun Gong movement that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to stamp out.
- National Review quoted U.S. attorney Breon Peace’s description of the “sinister” operation nestled in “the heart of bustling Chinatown in Lower Manhattan” in a bland office building. “Until several months ago, an entire floor of this building hosted an undeclared police station of the Chinese national police,” he said.
- Fox News elaborated on what Peace called China’s efforts that “repeatedly and flagrantly violated our nation’s sovereignty.” Peace added, “Now, just imagine the NYPD opening an undeclared secret police station in Beijing. It would be unthinkable.”
© Dominic Moore, 2023