Activists are now concerned that there may be as many as six illegal Chinese “secret police” stations around the country. This comes after the FBI recently arrested two New York City residents who were thought to be running an illegal police station for a provincial branch of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The New York Post reported that though the Manhattan outpost was shut down earlier this week, there is still a Chinese-run police operation elsewhere in the city. There is also one thought to be in Los Angeles, according to research cited by Safeguard Defenders, an advocacy group. The Madrid-based group has also noted that there are “Overseas Chinese Service Centers” apparently providing community services in Houston, Minnesota, Nebraska, and San Francisco.
China’s foreign ministry has contested the accusations and existence of such police stations, noting that the volunteer-run sites in the US and other countries are used to help Chinese nationals with logistical tasks, such as renewing their driver’s licenses, per the Daily Mail.
Though it is not certain whether there are covert police stations elsewhere, Safeguard Defenders mentioned that non-profit organizations are oftentimes fronts for groups that surveil and heckle dissidents overseas, per the report.
The two men arrested on Monday, Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping, have been accused of starting the office located in Manhattan’s Chinatown in 2022 at the command of the Fuzhou branch of the Ministry of Public Security, China’s national police force. While the two men are US citizens, they have been charged with conspiring to act as agents for the Chinese government.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: “We will not tolerate the PRC (People’s Republic of China) government or any foreign government harassing or threatening US persons.”
However, China has condemned the arrests as “political manipulation.”
Tensions between the US and China have escalated, as China has made known its military partnership with Russia amid the conflict in Ukraine. Though China has insisted that they are not equipping Russian soldiers with their own military technology, reports seem to suggest otherwise.
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