After a secret police station tied to the Chinese government was shut down in New York City, a human rights group spoke out about other cities subverted by so-called “service centers” amid rising tensions from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Monday, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace of the Eastern District of New York revealed that two U.S. citizens had been arrested and charged with conspiring to act as agents of the PRC by running an “undeclared police station of the Chinese National Police” in Manhattan. Additionally, dozens of police officers representing China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) were also charged with allegedly perpetrating a transnational repression scheme against those advocating for democracy in the PRC.
Now, the Madrid-based group Safeguard Defenders has re-upped their warning that this behavior to crack down on Chinese dissidents abroad could be happening in at least six other locations spread across four other states.
Speaking to the New York Post, a spokesperson said, “We found at least four listed in the US by PRC public security authorities, plus flagged an additional four overseas Chinese service centers in the US set up by the UFWD [United Front Work Department] networks responsible for manning the stations.”
The UFWD is a department within the Chinese Communist Party tasked with “work to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
These “overseas service centers” were said to be located in Houston, Texas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, along with cities in Minnesota and Nebraska and a second in New York City.
In September, Safeguard Defenders produced a report detailing the global spread of Chinese operatives working to maintain the PRC’s stranglehold of control.
“110 Overseas — Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild traces the origins of the campaign conducted by ten ‘pilot provinces’ back to 2018. Official guidelines explicitly outline the different tools made available to ‘persuade’ the targets to voluntarily return to China to face charges. These include targeting the purported suspects’ children in China, denying them the right to educations, as well as targeting family members and relatives in a similar fashion. In short, a full-on ‘guilt by association’ punishment to ‘encourage’ suspects to return from abroad.”
Revelations on the pervasiveness of China’s overseas operations followed reporting on the Chinese spy balloon shot down earlier this year that, according to multiple senior U.S. officials, had in fact collected intelligence from sensitive military sites.
Report showcases just how bad the Chinese spy balloon was for American securityhttps://t.co/sf6OIEJka5
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) April 4, 2023
Meanwhile, upon learning of the Justice Department’s arrest of the two men accused of working with the PRC, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin denied claims and told reporters, “China firmly opposes the US side’s slandering, smearing, engaging in political manipulation, and maliciously concocting the so-called transnational repression narrative.”
“We urge the US to immediately stop related erroneous practices, stop political manipulation, and stop smear attacks against China,” the spokesman added.
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