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Police Arrest Leaders of an Illegal Chinese Police Station in New York City

Along with law enforcement officials from other federal agencies and the state of New York, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that they had arrested two people who they say set up and ran an illegal Chinese regime police station in New York City.

Dozens of other people, mostly Chinese nationals who are thought to be in China at the moment, are also accused of "transnational repression" against anti-communist dissidents in the United States. This is because they are said to have set up an army of fake social media accounts to harass and threaten the dissidents.

The arrests are the first to happen in the U.S. since the NGO Safeguard Defenders revealed in September that China has set up dozens of illegal police posts around the world, including in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Brazil, and Spain. People say that the police stations were used to scare and silence dissidents or to threaten Chinese citizens who were thought to disagree with Communist Party orthodoxy by telling them to go back to China and face the harsh repressive apparatus there.

China is a communist totalitarian state that is busy killing off the Turkic people of East Turkistan. There is also a lot of proof that Tibetans and Mongolians are being targeted by ethnic cleansing in Beijing. People who don't belong to the Han ethnic group, which is the majority, are also persecuted. People of faith also face a lot of violence and abuse in the country. The Communist Party often destroys churches, takes away imams, and kills Falun Gong followers so that their parts can be sold.

The new charges from the DOJ add to the growing amount of proof that China is trying to spread its violations of human rights around the world. In a press conference on Monday, Breon Peace, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said that China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS), which is in charge of law enforcement for the Communist Party, has "repeatedly and flagrantly violated our nation's sovereignty" by opening and running a police station in the middle of New York City.

Monday, when the police spoke to the public, they said that the two men in arrest were "Harry" Lu Jianwang of the Bronx and Chen Jinping of Manhattan. The guys are being charged with setting up an illegal police station and using it to try to scare people who don't agree with the Communist Party in America. The official charges against them are conspiracy to act as agents of the Chinese government, which can get you up to five years in jail, and obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting cell phone conversations with an unnamed Chinese government official. For the second charge, you could spend up to 20 years in jail.

The Safeguard Defenders report showed that these secret foreign operations were run by the Chinese MPS unit in Fuzhou. Lu and Chen are said to have opened a police station there. In a news release, the DOJ said that, even though the men were allegedly running an illegal "police station," it looked like the operation they were running wasn't aimed at real criminals but rather at anti-communist dissidents.

“The PRC [People’s Republic of China], 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,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division said. “The PRC’s actions go far beyond the bounds of acceptable nation-state conduct. We will resolutely defend the freedoms of all those living in our country from the threat of authoritarian repression.”

A six story glass facade building, center, is believed to be the site of a foreign police outpost for China in New York’s Chinatown, Monday, April 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Lu, in particular, is accused of attempting to coerce a Chinese national to return to China, despite a reasonable fear of repression, through “treats of violence” to the person and their family. Lu also reportedly helped locate “an individual living in California who is a pro-democracy activist.”

“This prosecution reveals the Chinese government’s flagrant violation of our nation’s sovereignty by establishing a secret police station in the middle of New York City,” Peace, the U.S. attorney, said in the press release. “As alleged, the defendants and their co-conspirators were tasked with doing the PRC’s bidding, including helping locate a Chinese dissident living in the United States, and obstructed our investigation by deleting their communications. Such a police station has no place here in New York City – or any American community.”

In a separate set of legal actions, the DOJ charged 40 people who were identified as Chinese national police officers with using social media to "harass PRC dissidents" and threaten an unnamed American "telecommunications company" into stopping dissidents from meeting online to talk about human rights.

The DOJ explained, "The complaint says that members of the Group made thousands of fake online identities on social media sites like Twitter to harass and threaten Chinese dissidents."

"As is said, the PRC government uses its national police as a "troll farm" to attack people in our country who use their right to free speech in a way that the PRC government doesn't like. The PRC government also spreads propaganda whose only goal is to make the United States more divided," Peace said.

In addition to using "troll farms," the alleged Chinese officers attacked a videoconference to remember the Tiananmen Square Massacre by sending violent threats through the site's chat feature. In another attempt to host a virtual group talk about how the Chinese government violates human rights, the accused are said to have "flooded the videoconference and drowned out the meeting with loud music, vulgar screams, and threats to the pro-democracy participants."

One of the people charged, Julien Jin, is said to have been the "primary liaison" between an American telecommunications business that has not been named and the Chinese Communist Party. The DOJ said, "In that role, he often responded to requests from the PRC government to end meetings and block users on Company-1's video communications platform."

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The DOJ didn't reveal who the company was, but they did say that the "troll farms" that were created online were on sites like Twitter, which Chinese people aren't allowed to use. The report didn't say that these operations broke into Twitter as a company; it only said that a lot of fake "puppet" accounts were made.

Due to the presence of a Chinese consulate and a large number of dissenters, New York seems to have been chosen as the place to set up an illegal "police station" and do other illegal things. There are a lot of Cantonese speakers from Hong Kong who live in New York. There are also large Tibetan groups there. During the coronavirus pandemic, the Communist Party crushed a large protest movement. In recent years, the Chinese government has infiltrated local government to host propaganda shows that deny the ethnic cleansing of occupied Tibet, which has angered local Tibetans. The Chinese government is also thought to have created fake Tibetan organizations to support Chinese government causes.

After the Safeguard Defenders report came out in September, the Chinese government said there was more police activity abroad, but they said it was because of the coronavirus outbreak and that the activity was just bureaucratic.

"Because of the coronavirus, a lot of Chinese people living abroad haven't been able to get back to China in time to do things like get their driving licenses renewed. As a way to deal with these problems, local officials have opened an online licensing platform," said Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in October.

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