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New York, April 18 – Washington has cracked down on a Chinese ‘police station’ and harassment of dissidents in the US, arresting two persons and filing charges against 40 Beijing officials revealing the long arm of the police state stretching into this country.
The Monday early morning arrests of the two by federal officials brought to an end the saga of a Chinese “police station” operating brazenly in New York City.
“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,” said Breon Peace, the federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York.
Thirty-four officers of China’s Ministry of Public Safety were charged in a federal court here with “transnational repression schemes” to harass dissidents in the US and six officials with silencing dissidents online, US officials said.
The executive of an American telecommunications company and a civilian were also charged in connection with silencing dissidents, they said.
None of them has been arrested and may be in China or elsewhere.
Assistant Attorney General Olsen said: “These cases demonstrate the lengths the PRC (People’s Republic of China) government will go to silence and harass US persons who exercise their fundamental rights to speak out against PRC oppression, including by unlawfully exploiting a US-based technology company.”
Officials did not identify the technology company, but media reports have said it was Zoom, which runs the premier teleconferencing platform.
The Chinese government officials and their collaborators allegedly blocked dissidents from the platform, officials said.
The 34 staff of the MPS ran “a campaign of threats, harassment and intimidation directed at critics of the PRC government and the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) in the US and around the world”, officials said.
They worked from a “troll mill”, creating thousands of fake accounts, including some purporting to be of Americans, to intimidate dissidents and critics while putting out government propaganda, officials said.
The two who were arrested, “Harry” Lu Jianwang, 61, and Chen Jinping, 59, worked with the Beijing government to set up the first Chinese “police station” in the US, officials said.
The “police station” was set up as an extension of the Fuzhou City Public Security Bureau in the Chinatown neighbourhood of New York that is home to many immigrants from the Fujian province as a parallel entity to police Chinese citizens and people of Chinese descent, while also providing them police and Chinese government services.
They are charged with acting as agents of the Chinese government and destroying evidence when investigations began.
Safeguards Defenders, a Spain-based human rights NGO that first drew attention to the Chinese overseas “police stations” last year listed operations in 30 countries in North and South Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia (but not in India or other South Asian countries).
The places where the “police stations” were installed included London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and Madrid, according to Safeguards Defenders.
The New York “police station” closed down after the expose.
It was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation when agents found that communications between the two arrested and the MPS had been deleted allegedly by the two arrested.