Five people have been accused of stalking, harassing, and spying on America-based Chinese critics of the communist regime, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.
Three of the five defendants were arrested earlier in the week after years of attempted spying and intimidation, according to The New York Times. They appeared before a Brooklyn federal court Wednesday evening. U.S. authorities identified the accused as agents of China’s Ministry of State Security, according to the NYT. Two of the accused remain at large in China.
A majority of the alleged criminals’ activities took place in and around the New York City, Long Island, and Queens areas, with efforts focused on individuals seen to be in opposition to the Chinese ruling party, the NYT continued. One of the defendants is allegedly “prominent Queens-based democracy activist” Shujun Wang, who was working as a Chinese spy for at least 15 years, according to the report.
Prosecutors have accused Wang of working under the control and direction of the Chinese state and becoming a mole within a Queens-based pro-democracy organization Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang Memorial Foundation, according to the reports. Earlier this week, the co-founder of Wang’s organization was stabbed to death in his law office, allegedly by an irate client, according to another NYT report.
Wang also provided information on a Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate to the Chinese state who was subsequently arrested by Chinese authorities, according to the first report. (RELATED: Chinese Spy Suspected To Have Infiltrated UK Parliament)
A Long Island congressional candidate, who the NYT identified as Yan Xiong, was a core target in one of the three cases detailed Wednesday. Accused Chinese spy, Qiming Lin, attempted to gather damaging data on Yan, the NYT reported. Yan is reportedly a naturalized U.S. citizen and veteran, and was a student leader during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. He also participated in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Lin attempted to discredit Yan ahead of the June primary, first by using a private investigator to dig up dirt on the candidate, the NYT reported. Lin also invented compromising information on Yan, according to the private investigator who worked as a source for the FBI. Lin remains at large.
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U.S. Olympic figure skater Alysa Liu and her father Arthur Liu were also among those targeted by the accused, The Associated Press reported. Arthur Liu was reportedly warned about the activities in October 2021. The FBI contacted Mr. Liu as his daughter was preparing to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, but he decided not to tell Alysa about the issue until after the games, AP continued.
Fan “Frank” Liu and Matthew Ziburis targeted the athlete and her father at their home in the Bay Area, according to the report. Ziburis allegedly attempted to gain access to the athlete’s home by posing as a member of an international sports committee.
“I’ve kind of accepted my life to be like this because of what I chose to do in 1989, to speak up against the government. And I know the Chinese government will extend their long hands into any corner in the world,” Arthur Liu told the AP. “I’m going to continue to enjoy life and live life as I want to live. I’m not going to let this push me down and I’m not going to let them succeed.”
Ziburis and Liu were released after their arrest Tuesday. They were fitted with electronic monitoring systems and forced to pay $500,000 and $1 million bonds respectively, according to another AP report.
The fifth individual accused of spying, stalking and harassing U.S.-based dissidents of the Chinese communist regime is a businessman named Qiang “Jason” Sun, according to the AP. Sun was in charge of the defendants and remains at large.