In another crackdown on transnational repression, two U.S. citizens, Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping, have been arrested for their roles in establishing a Chinese government police station in secret in New York City, according to an announcement made by the FBI on Monday.
The pair, both residents of New York, were operating out of Manhattan’s Chinatown and have been charged with conspiracy to transmit interstate threats, as well as conspiracy to commit interstate harassment.
US law enforcement officials arrested two New York residents for allegedly operating a Chinese ‘secret police station’ in Manhattan's Chinatown, in what prosecutors said was part of a crackdown on Beijing's alleged targeting of dissidents https://t.co/AwfRBcjoom pic.twitter.com/d0QDifeEB0
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 18, 2023
“Until several months ago, an entire floor of this building hosted an undeclared police station of the Chinese National Police,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace.
According to the Justice Department, Jinping and Jianwang were acting under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party. In an attempt to prevent authorities from learning the full extent of their activities, the two destroyed evidence of their links to the government when they realized they had been exposed.
While the Chinese government has owned up to the existence of centers established to provide support for Chinese citizens in other countries, such as renewal of documents, the DOJ says the government has more sinister motives.
The law enforcement body highlighted the seriousness of the operation, as it calls the case a “significant national security matter,” saying that the illegal officers intimidated and harassed Chinese dissidents and spread official Chinese government propaganda online to counter any form of pro-democracy speech.
“The world now has a unique, never-before-seen view of how the PRC government deployed this army of Internet trolls,” Peace said.
Per U.S. law enforcement, neither of the arrested men registered with the United States as agents of a foreign country.
The FBI’s successful investigation and arrest of the two New Yorkers for running a secret Chinese government police station demonstrates the agency’s commitment to protecting national security and preserving the United States’ sovereignty as tensions between the United States and China grow.
This arrest underscores the ongoing efforts by the Chinese government to undermine U.S. national security and influence public opinion in their favor. Authorities believe the Chinese government would not take such a violation of its sovereignty lightly.
“Now, just imagine the NYPD opening an undeclared secret police station in Beijing. It would be unthinkable,” Peace said.