Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey will investigate a so-called “service center” in his state operated by a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intelligence service, according to a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The United Front Work Department (UFWD), a CCP “intelligence service” that specializes in “coordinating [foreign and domestic] influence operations,” operates Overseas Chinese Service Centers (OCSCs) in at least seven U.S. cities, a DCNF investigation found. Launched between 2014 and 2017, the seven U.S. OCSC branches are located in San Francisco, California; St. Paul, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Charlotte, North Carolina; Houston, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah, according to Chinese state media reports. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Chinese Intel Arm Quietly Operates ‘Service Centers’ In 7 US Cities)
Bailey sent a letter to Missouri Republican Rep. Ann Wagner on Wednesday informing her that his office would “immediately investigate this matter.”
“The information you have shared with my office about a possible CCP outpost within the borders of Missouri is deeply concerning and will receive the full attention of my office,” Bailey wrote to Wagner on Wednesday. “The threat posed by the CCP is very real.”
Last week, Wagner notified Bailey’s office about the OCSC branch in St. Louis, telling the DCNF at that time that the U.S. “must put a stop” to any CCP efforts to “gain a foothold in America.”
The OCSC in Missouri is hosted by the Chinese Education and Culture Center in St. Louis and was established in 2017, according to Chinese state-run media. A Chinese consulate official from Chicago attended the opening ceremony of the St. Louis OCSC, according to the consulate’s website.
Communist dictators can’t use American soil to go after courageous dissidents and innocent families, and we must continue to fight back against this regime’s dangerous ideology.
The Daily Caller covered this vital issue here.https://t.co/4iwARs26ZT
— Ann Wagner (@RepAnnWagner) June 23, 2023
In addition to Wagner, several other Republican lawmakers raised concerns about the “service centers” last week, the DCNF reported.
Senators John Cornyn of Texas as well as Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, along with Nebraska Republican Rep. Don Bacon, told the DCNF last week that they were in communication with the FBI about the seven U.S. OCSC branches.
A Chinese intelligence agency runs “service centers” in 7 U.S. cities which engage with China’s national police authority.
Perhaps instead of targeting conservatives, the FBI should be focused on the threat posed by the CCP.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) June 17, 2023
In addition to its Chinese intelligence ties, the OCSC program has also introduced its international representatives to officers belonging to China’s national police authority, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the DCNF recently reported. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has repeatedly said that MPS conducts covert intelligence operations on U.S. soil, including “illicit, transnational repression schemes.”
In January 2018, OCSC representatives from the U.S. traveled to Beijing to attend a “work conference,” Chinese state-run media outlet Qiaowang reported. During that trip, OCSC officials also met with MPS officers at a police station in China’s Zhejiang province, where they participated in a series of demonstrations showing how Chinese police use communications platforms to conduct “cross-border remote justice services” overseas, the DCNF reported.
Although there’s no evidence U.S. service centers use MPS technology, OCSC branches in several other nations support China’s global policing efforts by serving as “Overseas Chinese Police Contact Points” and conducting “armed patrols,” the DCNF reported.
“It is imperative that U.S. federal and state governments build a complete understanding of the PRC’s network of overseas police stations and the Chinese Communist Party-linked entities supporting their malicious work to extend PRC repression and coercion beyond its borders,” Wagner told the DCNF on Wednesday.
The St. Louis OCSC did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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