NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) - U.S. law enforcement officials on Monday arrested two New York residents for allegedly operating a Chinese "secret police station" in Manhattan's Chinatown, part of a crackdown on Beijing's alleged targeting of U.S.-based dissidents.
Lu Jianwang, 61, and Chen Jinping, 59, face charges of conspiring to act as agents of China's government without informing U.S. authorities and obstruction of justice. They are expected to appear in Brooklyn federal court later on Monday.
The charges come as the Department of Justice ramps up probes into what it calls "transnational repression" by U.S. adversaries such as China and Iran to intimidate political opponents living in the United States.
"We cannot and will not tolerate the Chinese government's persecution of pro-democracy activists who have sought refuge in this country," Breon Peace, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, told reporters.
Also on Monday, prosecutors unveiled charges against 34 Chinese officials for allegedly operating a "troll farm" and harassing dissidents online, including by disrupting their meetings on U.S. technology platforms.
They also added eight Chinese government officials as defendants in a case announced in 2020 charging a former China-based executive of Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM.O) with disrupting video meetings commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
Woah. The only reason I am blogging about this is that I was talking about it on Macrodosing the other day, and no one could believe me that there were secret police working in Chinatown. I walked by a protest in front of the place in February and was so surprised at what they were protesting. Like, imagine if you blogged something against China, and these dudes showed up and tried to press you on it.
America is the home of the free; for a lot of these people escaping authoritarianism and traveling all the way to NYC, finding out there's an arm of that same authoritarianism on the other side of the world is horrifying. They apparently were pursuing pro-democracy activists in the US, maybe even using TikTok to gather information to find them. That's what the whole Tiktok hearing was about. Crazy that this Cold War-type stuff is still occurring.