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Two charged in New York with running secret ‘police station’ for China

Two US residents had been arrested in New York on Monday for allegedly operating an unlawful “police station” in Manhattan at Beijing’s behest, as a part of a widespread crackdown on what US prosecutors described because the Chinese language authorities’s “transnational repression” schemes.

“Harry” Lu Jianwang, 61, and Chen Jinping, 59, who allegedly opened and ran the workplace in decrease Manhattan’s Chinatown till late final yr, had been charged with conspiring to behave as brokers of China’s authorities and erasing proof.

Lu was concerned in arranging counterprotests throughout President Xi Jinping’s go to to Washington in 2015, prosecutors alleged, in addition to efforts to return a fugitive to China. He additionally agreed to assist find a pro-democracy activist of Chinese language descent dwelling in California, prosecutors mentioned.

“The defendants had been directed to do the [People’s Republic of China’s] bidding, together with serving to find a Chinese language dissident dwelling in america,” Breon Peace, the US lawyer for the Japanese District of New York, mentioned in an announcement.

“Simply think about the [New York City Police Department] opening an undeclared secret police station in Beijing,” he added. “It will be unthinkable.”

FBI assistant director Michael Driscoll mentioned: “Upon studying of the FBI’s investigation . . . the defendants erased their communications to hide their actions.”

The “police station” was established on orders of Chinese language nationwide police officers, prosecutors claimed, including that members of the Chinese language consulate in New York had visited the premises after its opening.

“Immediately’s motion sends a robust message that we are going to not enable Chinese language Communist celebration officers to violate US legislation or harass, intimidate, or conduct surveillance on anybody in america,” mentioned Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Republican chair and high Democrat, respectively, on the US Home China committee.

The Chinese language embassy in Washington mentioned China’s police “don’t have interaction in ‘transnational repression and coercion’.”

Embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu mentioned the power was fashioned by abroad Chinese language to assist different Chinese language residents and had no authorities connection. “By initiating prosecution in opposition to Chinese language residents underneath the pretext of ‘transnational repression’, the US facet is exercising long-arm jurisdiction based mostly on fabricated fees,” Liu mentioned.

Individually on Monday, prosecutors charged 10 people, together with eight Chinese language authorities officers, for allegedly directing a former government of a US telecommunications firm, believed to be Zoom, to silence dissenters.

US prosecutors had beforehand charged Julien Jin, a China-based government at Zoom, in 2020 for disrupting video conferences at which the Tiananmen Sq. bloodbath was being mentioned. Zoom didn’t reply to a request for remark.

The US lawyer’s workplace in Brooklyn additionally unsealed fees in opposition to 34 Chinese language legislation enforcement officers for allegedly harassing Chinese language dissidents in New York and elsewhere within the US by way of faux personas created by a troll farm.

The defendants created social media accounts on Twitter and different platforms that lauded the Chinese language Communist celebration and derided its critics, prosecutors mentioned. They posted about divisive matters together with the homicide of George Floyd and the Covid-19 pandemic, prosecutors mentioned.

The FBI has beforehand raised issues concerning the existence of “police stations” within the US linked to Beijing. Christopher Wray, FBI director, in November instructed a congressional listening to that the follow “violates sovereignty and circumvents commonplace judicial legislation enforcement co-operation course of”.

“We now have seen a transparent sample of the Chinese language authorities . . . exporting [its] repression proper right here into the US,” he mentioned, including that authorities had issued a number of indictments linked to China’s “uncoordinated ‘legislation enforcement’” within the US, which included “harassing, stalking, surveilling, blackmailing individuals who they only don’t like or disagree with the Xi regime”.

The US Division of Justice final yr charged 5 people for spying, harassing and stalking dissident members of the Chinese language diaspora on behalf of Beijing’s secret police, together with what Washington mentioned was its first case for electoral interference involving China.