US Charges Multiple CCP Spies In Alleged Campaigns To Recruit US Spies, Obstruct A Criminal Prosecution
Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times,
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Oct. 24 announced charges against 10 Chinese intelligence officers and officials over their alleged involvement in espionage campaigns in the United States to further communist China’s strategic interests.
The charges, across three separate cases, accuse agents of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of conspiring to forcibly repatriate Chinese dissidents living in the United States, obstructing the criminal prosecution of a Chinese telecommunications company, developing pro-China spies within the United States, and illegally acting as agents of the CCP’s intelligence and security apparatus. A total of 13 individuals were charged.
“As these cases demonstrate, the government of China sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the United States and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
“They did not succeed.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate attempts by any foreign power to undermine the Rule of Law upon which our democracy is based. We will continue to fiercely protect the rights guaranteed to everyone in our country. And we will defend the integrity of our institutions.”
The DOJ on Oct. 20 announced an indictment of seven people allegedly involved in a plot to spy on, harass, and intimidate a Chinese citizen and permanent U.S. resident into moving back to China. Two more cases, one in New York and one in New Jersey, were announced by the department on Oct. 24.
CCP Allegedly Paid to Torpedo Prosecution
The first case unsealed on Oct. 24 focused on the alleged efforts of two Chinese intelligence officers to obstruct a U.S. criminal prosecution against a major China-based telecommunications company.
He Guochen and Wang Zheng orchestrated a scheme to steal files and other information from the U.S. attorney’s office in New York, according to court documents (pdf).
He Guochen, and Wang Zheng. (U.S. Department of Justice)
The complaint alleges that He and Wang are intelligence officers conducting foreign intelligence operations targeting the United States on behalf of the CCP and the telecommunications company. It alleges the effort had continued since at least 2019.
He and Wang sought to interfere with the prosecution of the company by bribing a U.S. government employee to steal top secret documents including witness lists, details on employees associated with the case, and prosecutors’ notes which, according to court documents, were “expected to cause serious damage to the national security of the United States.” These documents were then delivered to higher-ranking intelligence officers in China, according to prosecutors.
In exchange, He and Wang paid the government employee more than $41,000 in bitcoin, jewelry, and cash, and advised them as to a location in Las Vegas where they could convert the assets to U.S. dollars, according to the criminal complaint.
What He and Wang didn’t know was that the documents they received were fake, the DOJ said. The government employee they believed themselves to have compromised was in fact a double agent for the FBI.
“The insider flipped the script on the defendants by working not for them, but for team America,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a press conference announcing the charges against Guochun He and Zheng Wang.
Both He and Wang remain at large.
Infiltrating Universities, Controlling Chinese Communities
In the second case unsealed on Oct. 24, three more intelligence officers from China’s Ministry of State Security, the regime’s top intelligence agency, were indicted over their alleged involvement in a campaign focused on prodding individuals in the United States to act as agents for the CCP, including at American universities and the Department of Homeland Security.
The effort dates back to 2008, and is purported to be part of a systematic effort to target and recruit individuals within the U.S. to act on behalf of the CCP. Posing as academics with the Institute for International Studies, the agents sought to bribe or coerce individuals into providing information, materials, equipment, and assistance to the CCP in ways that would further China’s intelligence objectives and undermine U.S. national security, according to the DOJ.
The agents, prosecutors said, also aimed to steal fingerprinting technologies and data and to shut down human rights protests critical of the CCP.
“These cases highlight the threat the PRC government poses to our institutions and the rights of people in the United States,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said in a statement, using an acronym for communist China’s official name.
“We will not tolerate these brazen operations: the harassment and attempted repatriation by force of individuals living in the U.S.; the effort to corrupt our judicial system; and the attempt to recruit agents for the PRC under the cover of a front academic organization.”
A Systemic Campaign Against US
The charges represent just the latest in the United States’ ongoing efforts to combat a wide-ranging CCP campaign to spy on Americans, silence dissent, and promote pro-Beijing views in the country.
Recent prosecutions reveal that the CCP has spent untold millions of dollars developing agents within the United States in recent years, particularly focusing on recruiting informants and agents within the Chinese diaspora to spy on and harass U.S.-based dissidents.
This year alone, the DOJ has brought charges against alleged CCP agents relating to cases including a plot to attack a U.S. Army veteran running for Congress, the torching of an anti-CCP statue in California, and the stalking of an American figure skater.
“These indictments of PRC intelligence officers and government officials—for trying to obstruct a U.S. trial of a Chinese company, masquerading as university professors to steal sensitive information, and trying to strong-arm a victim into returning to China—again expose the PRC’s outrageous behavior within our own borders,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.
“The FBI, working with our partners and allies, will continue to throw the full weight of our counterintelligence and law enforcement authorities into stopping the Chinese government’s crimes against our businesses, universities, and Chinese-American communities.”