On Monday, the Justice Department announced charges involving China’s Ministry of Public Security, the Associated Press reported.
Justice Department officials announced the arrest of two US citizens from China on charges that they helped set up a secret police station in New York City under the direction of a Chinese Communist Party official.
Additionally, the DOJ has brought charges against 34 officers from the Ministry of Public Security for using social media to harass Chinese dissidents in the US.
The arrests of the two men concern a Ministry of Public Security branch that was operating out of an office building in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan. This branch closed down last fall while being investigated by the FBI.
Harry Lu Jianwang of the Bronx and Chen Jinping of Manhattan, both US citizens, were acting at the behest of a Chinese government official when they helped to set up the local “police station” in Chinatown. After discovering the FBI probe, the two men deleted their communications with the official from their phones, the Justice Department said.
Michael Driscoll, the special agent in charge of the New York FBI field office told reporters on Monday that the Chinese secret police operation is a “blatant violation of our national sovereignty.”
According to the Justice Department, while the Manhattan secret police station did perform basic services like helping Chinese nationals renew their Chinese driver’s licenses, the true purpose was more “sinister.”
The DOJ said the secret police stations primarily operated to help the Chinese government track down pro-democracy activists living in California.
In a separate case, 34 officers from the Ministry of Public Security, presumed to be residing in China, were charged with setting up thousands of phony social media accounts to harass dissidents living outside of China.
According to the Justice Department, the 34 officers are part of a specialized task force that works out of a police facility in Beijing. This task force also uses social media to spread Chinese government propaganda.
The 34 defendants remain at large.