NOTE: We have been alerted by a reliable source that “Harry” Lu Jianwang, 61, of the Bronx, and Chen Jinping, 59, of Manhattan have been released on bail and their sponsor’s name has been redacted.
The charges against “Harry” Lu Jianwang, 61, of the Bronx, and Chen Jinping, 59, of Manhattan include obstruction of justice and conspiracy to act as agents of the Chinese government. An FBI agent claimed the defendants built a secret police station under the control of China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) in a Manhattan office building in a 30-page document attached to a criminal complaint.
According to the Justice Department, the two individuals helped establish the outpost in 2022 and destroyed all correspondence with an MPS representative after learning of the FBI investigation. Later Monday, the two are scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn.
Kurt Ronnow, acting deputy director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, said: “It’s just outrageous that China’s Ministry of Public Security thinks it can get away with setting up a secret police station and illegal on American soil to help it export repression. This case is a powerful reminder that the People’s Republic of China will do everything in its power to subjugate its citizens and stifle the words they do not want the world hears.
According to Reuters news agency, China on Tuesday refuted US claims about police stations, saying they do not exist and that China has a policy of not interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. This is according to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Wang Wenbin.
According to Agence France-Presse, Wenbin said “political manipulation” was the cause of the arrests.
He is quoted by AFP as saying: “China firmly opposes the defamation, defamation, political manipulation by the United States and the malicious concoction of the so-called transnational repressive discourse. “.
The People’s Republic of China, referred to in the Justice Department statement, is accused of using fake social media accounts to intimidate Chinese dissidents living in the United States and spreading “propaganda and official PRC government narratives to counter pro-democracy rhetoric”. Chinese dissidents,” according to a separate complaint filed against nearly three dozen MPS officers.
The 34 defendants, all believed to be Chinese citizens, are accused of participating in a secret task force called “912 Special Project Working Group” which sought out and persecuted Chinese dissidents overseas in an effort to stifle criticism of the Chinese government. According to court documents released on Monday, other people are accused of interfering with online conferences where topics critical of the Chinese government were discussed.
The organization allegedly ran a “troll farm” of thousands of fictitious social media accounts on websites like Twitter to spread propaganda for the Chinese government and find operatives in the United States to do the same. In one incident, members of Group 912 allegedly used obscene language, loud music and threats to disrupt an online anti-communist meeting organized by a Chinese dissident.
Ten other people, six of whom are MPS officers, are accused of trying to suppress political and religious statements by Americans who were critical of the Chinese government.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said, “As alleged, the PRC government is deploying its National Police and Special Project 912 Task Force not as an instrument to uphold the law and protect public safety, but rather as a troll farm that attacks the people of our country for exercising their right to free speech in a way that the PRC government finds objectionable and is also spreading propaganda whose sole purpose is to sow division in the United States.”
The Justice Department’s most recent attempts to end transnational harassment of foreign dissidents residing in the United States include the charges laid on Monday, the first to target secret Chinese police outposts anywhere in the world. Federal prosecutors have charged more than a dozen defendants, the majority of whom were Chinese officials, with participating in conspiracies to repatriate political opponents of the Chinese government, obtaining confidential information about an investigation into a Chinese telecommunications company and enlisting spies to work as Chinese. government officials in the United States.
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