The Biden administration vehemently condemned China on Tuesday, with a senior White House official saying the United States would “use all available tools” in protecting its citizens from being harassed by any foreign government.
Those comments came in the wake of two men being arrested and alleged to operate a secret Chinese police station in New York. As the senior official with the administration told Newsweek:
“The U.S. government has been clear that we will use all available tools to protect American citizens and other U.S. persons from transnational repression and other forms of foreign malign influence.”
Referencing the People’s Republic of China, the official said:
“We will not tolerate the PRC Government – or any foreign government – harassing or threatening U.S. persons.”
Criminal complaints were unsealed this week by Brooklyn federal prosecutors. They showed that charges have been levied against two different men who are alleged to be helping the government in China set up a Manhattan clandestine police outpost so that they could intimidate people in America and suppress any criticism coming out about China.
The Department of Justice alleged that these two men, Chen Jinping and Lu Jianwang, were acting “under the direction and control” of one high-ranking official in China’s Ministry of Public Security.
The men were arrested by the FBI on Monday. They were charged with conspiring to act as agents of China as well as obstructing justice. They both made their initial court appearance on that same day, yet they haven’t entered any please to those charges, officials with the DOJ have said.
An investigation into the alleged secret police station was begun last year by the U.S. attorney’s office in conjunction with the FBI. Court papers show that the police station reported directly to the Ministry of Public Security’s Fuzhou branch.
In a statement released on Monday, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, said:
“This prosecution 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.”
The NGO Safeguard Defenders, a group that is based in Spain, has said that China has already established 54 different “overseas police service centers” based on five different continents, as of June 21 of last year. That spreads across 25 different cities in different countries.
According to the DOJ, this week’s charges are the first levied against any secret police station operated by China outside of their country.
Not surprisingly, China dismissed the U.S. allegations this week.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, spoke with Agence France-Presse and said:
“China firmly opposes the U.S. side’s slandering, smearing, engaging in political manipulation and maliciously concocting the so-called transnational repression narrative.”
Also on Monday, federal prosecutors unsealed a separate criminal complaint brought against 34 different officials who work for the Ministry of Public Security in China with harassing Chinese dissidents who live in another country. The harassment was done on various social media platforms.