The FBI has arrested two people on suspicion of aiding in the operation of a secret police station in lower Manhattan on behalf of the Chinese government. The two are accused of plotting to work as Chinese government agents. “Harry” Lu Jianwang, 61, was arrested in the Bronx on Monday morning, and Chen Jinping, 59, was apprehended in Manhattan, according to the FBI.
“The defendants worked together to establish the first overseas police station in the United States on behalf of the Fuzhou branch of the (Ministry of Public Security),” the FBI said in a statement.
Two more charges, one against 34 members of Beijing’s Municipal Public Security Bureau and the other against a group of 10 people including eight Chinese government officials, were filed in addition to the New York lawsuit.
The three accusations have a common theme: the suspects are accused of conspiring to harass, threaten, and intimidate “wanted” Chinese nationals living in the United States. In a statement released in November, the FBI revealed that it had learned that China maintained a de facto police station in Manhattan outside of legal framework.
As a result of their study, Safeguard Defenders, a non-governmental organization, reported in September 2022 that dozens of similar facilities globally were carrying out police activities. Officials in China were outraged by this interpretation, insisting that the “service centers” were actually run by volunteers and had nothing to do with law enforcement.
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According to a January investigation by the New York Times, however, Chinese state media has portrayed the centers as police stations that operate independently of local authorities in other nations. The FBI reportedly conducted a search of the East Broadway building in the fall of 2022, according to the Times.
With 100 clandestine police stations across the world, the CCP monitors and harasses Chinese nationals living abroad including in the US. Those who flee repression must not face intimidation in free societies. https://t.co/C2abRmhf45
— Damon M. Wilson (@DamonMacWilson) April 18, 2023
“This case serves as a powerful reminder that the People’s Republic of China will stop at nothing to bend people to their will and silence messages they don’t want anyone to hear,” said Kurt Ronnow, acting assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division.
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