U.S. accuses China of opening illegal police station in New York City

U.S. accuses China of opening illegal police station in New York City

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday the indictment of two individuals for opening and maintaining operational an illegal police station in Manhattan’s Chinatown. (New York) that was working under orders from the Chinese National Police for track and harass residents of that country critical of the Beijing authorities.

Likewise, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York indicted in another case others. 34 alleged Chinese police officers of conducting a “massive campaign” on social media with the aim of “threaten Chinese dissidents, amplify divisions among Americans, and undermine confidence” in the democratic process.

“In the heart of bustling Chinatown, in Lower Manhattan, a dark secret was hidden until several months ago, an entire floor of a building had housed and undeclared Chinese National Police station“, said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, at a press conference.

Peace cited that on at least one occasion, Chinese law enforcement asked one of the two defendants in this case, arrested this morning, to locate a pro-democracy activist of Chinese descent living in California.

The prosecutor asserted that the two defendants admitted to deleting communications with Chinese police officials from their phones, after learning that the FBI had opened an investigation against them.

The detainees are Lu Jianwang, 61, and Chen Jinping, 59, both New York residents who will appear before a federal judge in New York City for the first time this Monday.

Lu, who prosecutors say had been collaborating for years with the Chinese security apparatusand Chen are charged with conspiracy to act as foreign agents and obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence of their communications with Chinese officials.

As for the second case, it involves the indictment of 34 Chinese police officers who belong to a group called “Special Project 912,” which operates as a “troll farm” acting “against Chinese democracy activists and dissidents located outside the People’s Republic of China.”according to Peace.

The indictment alleges that this group created thousands of fake profiles which were used in a coordinated manner to harass, discredit and threaten dissidents and activists around the world: “People the People’s Republic of China perceives as threats to the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Among his activities, the prosecutor highlighted the boycott of online meetings, to force their disruption. Likewise, he said, “they use their fake online profiles to spread propaganda and the Chinese government’s official narrative with the aim of countering and hobbling dissidents who speak out in favor of democracy.”

“We cannot and will not tolerate the Chinese government’s persecution of pro-democracy activists who have sought refuge in this country. We want this prosecution to serve as a warning that we remain determined to fight any attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to oppress and intimidate our residents,” Peace stressed.

The authorities also added on Monday. eight new defendants to another transnational repression case. opened in 2020, in which a former executive of the Zoom videoconferencing company in China was accused of censoring, in collaboration with the Chinese government, virtual meetings on that platform that commemorated the Tiananmen Square protests.

Kayleigh Williams