The FBI has arrested two people for allegedly operating an illegal police station for the Chinese government in New York City.
The two individuals were arrested Monday and are expected to appear in federal court in the city on charges of conspiring to act as Chinese agents.
Authorities say the “unreported police station” in Manhattan’s Chinatown was shut down last year when a search warrant was executed.
“New York City is home to New York’s best – the NYPD,” US Attorney Breon Peace, the top US attorney in Brooklyn, said at a news conference announcing the arrests. “We do not need or want a secret police station in our great city.”
The Justice Department also announced charges against 34 PRC national police officers for harassing Chinese citizens in the US for being critical of the Chinese government.
Those defendants live in China and are still at large, the Justice Department said. The officials say they were part of the Chinese government’s “Special Project 912 Working Group” to influence global perceptions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Prosecutors say the agents used social media to target “perceived adversaries,” which included pro-democracy activists around the world, and to promote the People’s Republic of China.
The agents, under the purported direction of China’s Ministry of Public Security, executed accounts that appeared to be run by US citizens.
They also posted videos and articles targeting Chinese pro-democracy activists in the US, even explicitly threatening them with death. The officers were also accused of threatening people into not attending pro-democracy protests in the United States.
Chinese officials claimed that the “service centers,” which the FBI said were part of a global network, were run by volunteers and had nothing to do with surveillance.