The Department of Justice announced Wednesday eight individuals have been charged for conspiring to nefariously aid and act as illegal agents for the Chinese Communist Party while in the United States. Five of them have been arrested. Three remain at large.
“The Chinese government’s brazen attempts to surveil, threaten, and harass our own citizens and lawful permanent residents, while on American soil, are part of China’s diverse campaign of theft and malign influence in our country and around the world,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. “The FBI will use all of its tools to investigate and defeat these outrageous actions by the Chinese government, which are an affront to America's ideals of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.”
According to DOJ, the individuals arrested attempted to force people in America to return to China for punishment over cooked up charges.
According to the complaint, the defendants participated in an international campaign to threaten, harass, surveil and intimidate John Doe-1, a resident of New Jersey, and his family in order to force them to return to the PRC [People's Republic of China] as part of an international effort by the PRC government known within the PRC as “Operation Fox Hunt” and “Operation Skynet.” In furtherance of the operation, the PRC government targets Chinese individuals living in foreign countries that the PRC government alleges have committed crimes under PRC law and seeks to repatriate them to the PRC to face charges. Rather than rely upon proper forms of international law enforcement cooperation, such as Interpol “red notices” and requests for information through appropriate governmental channels, the defendants allegedly engaged in clandestine, unsanctioned, and illegal conduct within the United States and facilitated the travel of PRC government officials (PRC Officials) to U.S. soil in order to further carry out these illegal acts.
“As alleged, the defendants assisted PRC officials in a scheme to coerce targeted individuals to return to the PRC against their will,” Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said about the case. “The United States will not tolerate the conduct of PRC carrying out state-authorized actions on U.S. soil without notice to, and coordination with, the appropriate U.S. authorities. Nor will we tolerate the unlawful harassment and stalking of U.S. residents to further PRC objectives.”
According to FBI Director Wray, the Bureau is investigating thousands of cases related to nefarious Chinese activity and espionage across the United States.