DOJ charges five with ‘transnational repression’ on behalf of Chinese secret police News
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DOJ charges five with ‘transnational repression’ on behalf of Chinese secret police

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Wednesday announced that it charged five defendants with several crimes related to an effort by the People’s Republic of China to “stalk, harass and spy on” Chinese nationals living in the United States. In a statement, Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the DOJ National Security Division said the defendants’ activities are “antithetical to fundamental American values.” He vowed that DOJ will “not allow any foreign government to impede [dissidents’] freedom of speech, to deny them the protection of our laws or to threaten their safety or the safety of their families.”

The DOJ alleges that Matthew Ziburis and Fan Liu acted under Qiang Sun’s control to smear pro-democracy dissidents. Defendants attempted to access a dissident’s tax returns and installed surveillance equipment in the residences and vehicles of two other dissidents.

Shujun Wang is charged with “acting as an agent of the PRC.” He allegedly leveraged his status in the New York City Chinese community to collect information from activists and reported his findings to the PRC’s Ministry of State Security (MSS).

Qiming Lin allegedly hired a private investigator to stop the election of a congressional candidate and offered to pay “[w]hatever price” if the investigator found or fabricated scandalous information about the candidate. Lin also reportedly told the investigator that “violence would be fine too.” The New York Times reported that the unnamed candidate is likely Yan Xiong. Xiong was a pro-democracy student leader and was arrested during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest. Xiong joined the US Army in 1994 and retired from active service in September 2021, before running for Congress in 2022.

Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll believes “[t]ransnational repression schemes pose an increasing threat against U.S. residents who choose to speak out against the People’s Republic of China and other regimes.”

DOJ charged Lin and Wang in separate cases while Liu, Ziburis, and Sun are co-defendants in a single case. Liu, Ziburis, and Wang are in federal custody, but Lin and Sun remain at large. If convicted, Defendants face prison sentences of up to 20 years.