Two criminal complaints filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging 44 defendants with various crimes related to efforts by the national police of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)—the Ministry of Public Security (MPS)—to harass Chinese nationals residing in the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere in the United States.
The defendants, including 40 MPS officers and two officials in the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), allegedly perpetrated transnational repression schemes targeting U.S. residents whose political views and actions are disfavored by the PRC government, such as advocating for democracy in the PRC.
In the two schemes, the defendants created and used fake social media accounts to harass and intimidate PRC dissidents residing abroad and sought to suppress the dissidents’ free speech on the platform of a U.S. telecommunications company (Company-1). The defendants charged in these schemes are believed to reside in the PRC or elsewhere in Asia and remain at large.
“These cases demonstrate the lengths the PRC government will go to silence and harass U.S. persons who exercise their fundamental rights to speak out against PRC oppression, including by unlawfully exploiting a U.S.-based technology company,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “These actions violate our laws and are an affront to our democratic values and basic human rights.”
“China’s Ministry of Public Security used operatives to target people of Chinese descent who had the courage to speak out against the Chinese Communist Party – in one case by covertly spreading propaganda to undermine confidence in our democratic processes and, in another, by suppressing U.S. video conferencing users’ free speech,” said Acting Assistant Director Kurt Ronnow of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. “We aren’t going to tolerate CCP repression – its efforts to threaten, harass, and intimidate people – here in the United States. The FBI will continue to confront the Chinese government’s efforts to violate our laws and repress the rights and freedoms of people in our country.”
Learn more about this case here.
The FBI has created a website for victims to report efforts by foreign governments to stalk, intimidate, or assault people in the United States. Please visit: www.fbi.gov/investigate/counterintelligence/transnational-repression.