Two New York residents were arrested Monday for secretly operating a Chinese police station which was used to monitor and intimidate dissidents and those critical of the Chinese government, officials say.
“Harry” Lu Jianwang, 61, of the Bronx, and Chen Jinping, 59, of Manhattan, were arrested at their homes on Monday after they were charged with conspiring to act as agents of the Chinese government and obstructing justice by destroying evidence.
“The PRC, through its repressive security apparatus, established a secret physical presence in New York City to monitor and intimidate dissidents and those critical of its government,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said. “The PRC’s actions go far beyond the bounds of acceptable nation-state conduct.”
The Chinese government has denied operating secret police stations in the U.S. and other countries, instead calling them service stations for Chinese people who need help with bureaucratic tasks, such as renewing their driver’s license.
The U.S. has also charged 40 Chinese police officers and two officials at China’s Cyberspace Administration for perpetrating “transnational repression schemes” targeting U.S. residents whose political views and actions are disfavored by the Chinese government.
“The defendants created and used fake social media accounts to harass and intimidate PRC dissidents residing abroad and sought to suppress the dissidents’ free speech on the platform of a U.S. telecommunications company,” prosecutors said in a statement. “The defendants charged in these schemes are believed to reside in the PRC or elsewhere in Asia and remain at large.”
U.S. officials condemned China’s actions as a “flagrant violation” of U.S. sovereignty.
“It is simply outrageous that China’s Ministry of Public Security thinks it can get away with establishing a secret, illegal police station on U.S. soil to aid its efforts to export repression and subvert our rule of law,” said Kurt Ronnow, of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.