No more Chinese secret police on American soil

A shadow of a Chinese soldier reflects on a Cinese national flag during the opening ceremony of Shanghai Qizhong Tennis Center Monday Oct. 3, 2005 in Shanghai, China. Masters tournament featuring the top eight ranked men’s players begins Nov. 13. China is hosting the tournament at least through 2007, promising to turn the tennis world’s focus to Asia at the end of each season. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) EUGENE HOSHIKO/ASSOCIATED PRESS

No more Chinese secret police on American soil

Washington Examiner April 22, 12:00 AM April 22, 12:00 AM

There is little that the Biden administration, or any administration, can do to stop the Chinese Communist Party from stifling dissent inside China. It is equally difficult to stop Chinese officials from harassing and detaining dissenters in other countries, but the fact that they continue to do so is considerably more disturbing.

And absolutely under no circumstances should Chinese state law enforcement action be tolerated on American soil. This is why Monday’s arrests of two men charged with working for China’s Ministry of Public Security are at least somewhat encouraging.


The Department of Justice announced the arrests of Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping, both U.S. citizens, and charged them with conspiring to act as agents of China. Specifically, the two are accused of setting up an “undeclared overseas police station” in lower Manhattan on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.

The two men also stand accused of making violent threats against one political enemy of the Chinese Communist Party in the United States and their family and of helping the Chinese Communist Party track down another victim in Los Angeles. The two men were taken into custody at their homes in New York City.

Separately, federal prosecutors unsealed indictments charging 34 officers of China’s national police with setting up online “troll farms” used to harass Chinese dissidents across the U.S.

These arrests and indictments are not isolated cases. As documented by the Spanish nonprofit group Safeguard Defenders, China has a history of using both state and nonstate third-party actors to reach beyond its borders to silence dissent about its regime. In one case, a Chinese national with ties to China’s Ministry of Public Security hired a private investigator in New York to beat up a political refugee in the U.S. who had obtained U.S. citizenship and was running for office. Most chilling, this Chinese official told the private investigator, “We will have a lot more of this [work] in the future.”

According to Safeguard Defenders, China has set up more than 100 such secret police stations in countries around the world, including Canada, Nigeria, Japan, Argentina, Spain, and New Zealand. Safeguard Defenders alleges there are more stations in the U.S. as well, including in Houston, San Francisco, Nebraska, and Minnesota.

Shortly after taking office, Biden dismantled the Trump administration’s “China Initiative,” which was designed to provide federal prosecutors around the country with intelligence materials they needed to help identify nontraditional trade-secret theft cases, particularly from potential threats at labs, universities, and defense industrial base firms.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen said the program was terminated because it gave “rise to a harmful perception that the department applies a lower standard to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct related to that country or that we in some way view people with racial, ethnic, or familial ties to China differently.”

This was, of course, ridiculous, and Olsen later admitted that there was actually no evidence of “bias or prejudice” in the China Initiative, only complaints from China’s government and activist groups.

Monday’s arrests are an encouraging sign that the Biden administration hasn’t completely abandoned efforts to limit China’s violations of U.S. sovereignty. But they are also a reminder of why that program was needed in the first place, and why it should be brought back as soon as possible.


© 2023 Washington Examiner

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