BEIJING (AP) — Police in New York have arrested two men for allegedly setting up a secret police station for a Chinese provincial police agency to collect information on opponents of the ruling Communist Party.
Such offices have been reported across North America, Europe and in other countries where Chinese communities include critics of the Communist Party who have family or business contacts in China. China denies that they are police stations, saying that they exist mainly to provide citizen services such as renewing driver’s licenses….
A complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging two defendants in connection with opening and operating an illegal overseas police station, located in lower Manhattan, New York, for a provincial branch of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). “Harry” Lu Jianwang, 61, of the Bronx, and Chen Jinping, 59, of Manhattan, were arrested earlier this morning at their homes in New York City. Their initial appearances are scheduled this afternoon in Brooklyn before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes Jr.
As alleged in the complaint, Lu and Chen are charged with conspiring to act as agents of the PRC government as well as obstructing justice by destroying evidence of their communications with an MPS official. The defendants worked together to establish the first overseas police station in the United States on behalf of the Fuzhou branch of the MPS. The police station – which closed in the fall of 2022 after those operating it became aware of the FBI’s investigation – occupied a floor in an office building in Manhattan’s Chinatown. While acting under the direction and control of an MPS Official, Lu and Chen helped open and operate the clandestine police station. None of the participants in the scheme informed the U.S. government that they were helping the PRC government surreptitiously open and operate an illegal MPS police station on U.S. soil.
“The PRC, 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,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “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.”
“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 U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York. “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.”
“It is simply outrageous that China’s Ministry of Public Security thinks it can get away with establishing a secret, illegal police station on U.S. soil to aid its efforts to export repression and subvert our rule of law,” said Acting Assistant Director Kurt Ronnow of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. “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. The FBI is dedicated to protecting everyone in the United States against efforts to undermine our democratic freedoms, and we’ll hold any state actors – and those who help them – accountable for breaking our laws.”