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Covert Chinese ‘Police Station’ in Manhattan Tracked Dissidents

Brooklyn federal prosecutors charged two men with operating an “undeclared overseas police station” in lower Manhattan on behalf of the Chinese government, Politico reports. Prosecutors charged the men, Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping, with conspiring to act as agents of China as well as obstructing justice by deleting their communications with an official for China’s Ministry of Public Security. Last year, the human rights group Safeguard Defenders accused China of operating more than 100 overseas police outposts in numerous foreign countries. The stations ostensibly provide diplomatic services to Chinese citizens abroad but also covertly harass Chinese dissidents, the group said. The station identified Monday occupied an entire floor of an office building in Manhattan’s Chinatown before closing in 2022, prosecutors said. During its operation, it was tasked with “helping locate a person of interest” to the Chinese government. Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said the case “reveals the Chinese government’s flagrant violation of our nation’s sovereignty. ...Such a police station has no place here in New York City — or any American community.” Prosecutors unsealed two related cases. One charged 34 officers of China’s national police with harassing Chinese nationals in New York and elsewhere in the U.S., and another charged eight Chinese government officials with directing an employee of a U.S. telecommunications company to remove Chinese dissidents from its platform. The 34 officers were described as having created a “troll farm” consisting of thousands of fake online personas on social media sites, including Twitter, to target Chinese nationals living in the U.S. who held political views in opposition to those of the People’s Republic of China or who promoted democracy in China.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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