FBI Director Christopher Wray denounced as "outrageous" the existence of what some have called unauthorized "police stations" established by the Chinese government outside its borders, Reuters reports. Republicans in Congress sought answers from the Biden administration about the influence such operations may have following a report in September by Safeguard Defenders, a Europe-based human rights organization that revealed the presence of dozens of police "service stations" in major cities around the world, including New York. The report said the stations were an extension of Beijing's efforts to pressure some Chinese nationals or their relatives abroad to return to China to face criminal charges. It also linked them to activities of China's United Front Work Department, a Communist Party body charged with spreading its influence and propaganda overseas.
"I'm very concerned about this. We are aware of the existence of these stations," Wray told a U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, acknowledging but declining to detail the FBI's investigative work on the issue. "But to me, it is outrageous to think that the Chinese police would attempt to set up shop, you know, in New York, let's say, without proper coordination. It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes." Wray said the United States had won a number of indictments involving the Chinese government harassing, stalking, surveilling, and blackmailing people in the United States who disagreed with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. "It's a real problem and something that we're talking with our foreign partners about, as well, because we're not the only country where this has occurred," he said.