DOJ Announces Huge Arrests: 30 Chinese National Security Officers and NY Residents Charged with Violating US Sovereignty

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Massive Arrests Made by DOJ: Chinese National Security Officers and NY Residents Charged

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a complaint in federal court in Brooklyn charging 34 officers of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security with harassing Chinese nationals residing in the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere in the United States. The defendants allegedly perpetrated transnational repression schemes targeting U.S. residents whose political views and actions are disfavored by the PRC government. The officers were assigned to a task force called the “912 Special Project Working Group” which was responsible for using thousands of fake online personas on social media sites, including Twitter, to target Chinese democracy activists and critics of the CCP through online harassment and threats. These online personas also disseminate official PRC government propaganda and narratives to counter and overwhelm the critical speech of the Chinese activists. The topics of the propaganda and official narratives are directed by MPS headquarters, and have included the advantages of the PRC’s CCP-dominated political system over democracy, U.S. domestic and foreign policy, human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang Province, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the officers of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security were involved in a transnational repression scheme aimed at suppressing free speech in the United States. The officers, who were assigned to the “912 Special Project Working Group,” used thousands of fake online personas on social media sites, including Twitter, to target Chinese democracy activists and critics of the CCP through online harassment and threats. These online personas also disseminate official PRC government propaganda and narratives to counter and overwhelm the critical speech of the Chinese activists.

The investigation has also uncovered official MPS directions to Group members to compose articles and videos based on certain themes targeting, for example, the activities of Chinese pro-democracy activists located abroad or the policies of the U.S. government. As alleged, the Group executed a standing order from MPS headquarters to harass a well-known critic of the PRC government and the CCP by using a host of Group-controlled social media accounts.

“These cases demonstrate that the Chinese Communist Party, once again, attempted to intimidate, harass, and suppress Chinese dissidents in the United States,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge David Sundberg. “In the U.S., the freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our democracy, and the FBI will work tirelessly to defend everyone’s right to speak freely without fear of retribution from the CCP. These complex investigations revealed an MPS-wide effort to repress individuals by using the U.S. communications platform and fake social media accounts to censor political and religious speech.”

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The defendants are believed to reside in the PRC, and they remain at large. The charges against them include conspiracy to commit interstate and international stalking, conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, identity theft, interstate and international stalking, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. If convicted, the defendants face up to 10 years in prison on each count.

Source: US Department of Justice

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