Ten Republican senators urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday to provide answers about at least seven “service centers” tied to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that are operating in U.S. cities.
A CCP “intelligence service” called the United Front Work Department (UFWD) operates Overseas Chinese Service Centers (OCSCs) out of nonprofits in at least seven U.S. cities, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation recently revealed. Established between 2014 and 2017, the U.S. OCSCs are located in San Francisco, California; Houston, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; St. Paul, Minnesota; Salt Lake City, Utah; St. Louis, Missouri and Charlotte, North Carolina, according to Chinese state-media reports. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: The Chinese Military Is Training Kindergarteners For War In Bootcamps Across The Country)
Republicans senators Ted Budd and Thom Tillis of North Carolina; John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas; Josh Hawley and Eric Schmitt of Missouri; Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah as well as Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska asked the DOJ to provide a briefing about the OCSC network by July 31, 2023, according to a letter sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday that was obtained by the DCNF.
“We write to express our grave concerns regarding reports of ‘Overseas Chinese Service Centers’ (OCSCs) operated by an intelligence service of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in conjunction with the PRC’s national police force,” the letter states.
The senators’ letter also included a number of questions, such as whether or not the U.S. OCSC branches had engaged in any illegal activity. Likewise, the letter requested for the DOJ to determine if any additional OCSCs or “similar PRC facilities” are also in operation within the U.S.
The UFWD’s primary missions include influence operations and intelligence collection, according to the U.S.-China Economic Security and Review Commission. The DCNF also discovered that U.S. OCSC officials traveled to China in 2018 for a “work conference,” during which they met with personnel from China’s national police authority, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), according to multiple Chinese state-run media reports.
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) has warned that MPS conducts covert ‘intelligence and national security operations far beyond China’s borders,’ including ‘illicit, transnational repression schemes’ on U.S. soil,” the senators’ letter to the DOJ states.
This year, the DOJ charged two men for allegedly conspiring to act as agents of China and operating a secret police station in New York City on behalf of MPS in April 2023.
“The ongoing discovery of additional OCSCs raises the question of whether DOJ’s response sufficiently addresses the threat, particularly because OCSCs have openly operated for several years and their activities have been reportedly documented in Chinese state media and social media posts,” the senators wrote.
The CCP State Council’s Overseas Chinese Affairs Office established 60 OCSCs around the world between 2014 and 2017, according to Chinese state-run media reports. The following year, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office was subsumed by the CCP’s UFWD in 2018, according to Chinese government documents.Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey recently announced that his office will investigate the St. Louis OCSC, the DCNF reported on June 28.
“A possible CCP outpost within the borders of Missouri is deeply concerning and will receive the full attention of my office,” Bailey wrote to Missouri Republican Rep. Ann Wagner in a letter obtained by the DCNF.
Bailey’s decision to launch an investigation came less than a week after Wagner notified the Missouri attorney general’s office about the existence of the St. Louis OCSC.
In addition to Wagner, several other Republicans, including Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, told the DCNF that they’ve also been in communication with the FBI about the U.S. OCSC network.
“The DOJ must ensure that our adversaries, such as the CCP, are not operating intelligence operations or engaging in repression on U.S. soil,” the senators’ letter to the DOJ states.
The FBI, DOJ and U.S. OCSC branches did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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