Justice Department Charges 8 in Harassment of Chinese Dissidents

“Today, I’m joined by F.B.I. director Chris Wray and remotely by the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Seth DuCharme, to announce charges against eight individuals for acting as agents of the People’s Republic of China, while taking part in an illegal Chinese law enforcement operation known as Fox Hunt. Five of these individuals were arrested across the country this morning. Three — the rest we believe are in China. China describes Fox Hunt as an international anti-corruption campaign, in which it seeks to locate legitimate fugitives around the world to bring them back for trial in China. But this is certainly not the whole story, and oftentimes, it simply isn’t true. Some of these individuals may well be wanted on traditional criminal charges, and some of them may even be guilty. But in many instances, the hunted are opponents of Communist Party Chairman Xi, political rivals, dissidents, critics, and in either event, the operation is a clear violation of the rule of law and international norms. Without coordination with our government, China’s repatriation squads enter the sovereign territory of the United States, surveil and locate the alleged fugitives, and deploy intimidation and other tactics to force them back into China, where they would face certain imprisonment or worse following illegitimate trials.” “Once victims reported China’s harassment to the F.B.I., we began a multi-year investigation in order to bring the perpetrators to justice and vindicate the rule of law. And the F.B.I. is proud to have this investigation culminate in criminal charges — the first of their kind — charges that will help China understand that surveilling, stalking, harassing, and blackmailing our citizens and lawful permanent residents carries serious risks.”

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