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Five Chinese agents charged with spying and harassment of US residents

ANI | Updated: Mar 17, 2022 05:47 IST

Washington [US], March 17 (ANI): US Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged five agents with spying and harassing Chinese nationals living in the United States who have been critical of Beijing, the US Department of Justice said in a press release.
"Two complaints were unsealed, and one amended complaint was authorized today in federal court charging five defendants with various crimes related to efforts by the secret police of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to stalk, harass and spy on Chinese nationals residing in Queens, New York, and elsewhere in the United States," the Justice Department said.
"Fan 'Frank' Liu and Matthew Ziburis were arrested yesterday in the Eastern District of New York, while Shujun Wang was arrested this morning in the Eastern District of New York. The other two defendants remain at large," the press release further said.
The individuals allegedly perpetrated transnational repression schemes to target Chinese nationals living in the United States because their political views and actions are disfavored by the Chinese government, the release said.
US media reports said the Chinese agents targeted lawyer and political activist Arthur Liu, who helped organize pro-democracy demonstrations when he lived in China. A democratic congressional candidate in the state of New York Xiong Yan was another target, he had been involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Sputnik News Agency reported.

"The Ministry of State Security (MSS) is more than an intelligence collection agency. It executes the Chinese government's efforts to limit free speech, attack dissidents, and preserve the power of the Communist Party," said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division.
"When it exports those actions overseas, it violates the fundamental sovereignty of the United States and becomes a national security threat. These indictments should serve as a stark warning to the MSS and all foreign intelligence agencies that their efforts at repression will not be tolerated within our borders," he added.
Notably, in February, a Canadian court had held that a Chinese government agency Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO) was involved in espionage activities "that harm Canada's interests".
The court was hearing an application challenging the denial of citizenship to a Chinese couple who had worked for OCAO in China for 20 years. The court upheld the denial of citizenship saying that it was reasonable "given the evidence available to the officer," reported National Post.
OCAO is an agency under the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The UFWD is a department of the CCP that works to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of the CCP, according to a US-China Economic and Security Review Commission report. (ANI)