Safeguard Defenders, the non-governmental organization that exposed over 100 illegal Chinese government police stations abroad last year, listed on Tuesday multiple American cities in addition to New York in which such stations are believed to still be operating.
New York prosecutors announced the arrests on Monday of two individuals, “Harry” Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping, for allegedly establishing an illicit police station in Manhattan used to harass, persecute, and threaten into repatriation anti-communist dissidents in the United States. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace accused China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) of “repeatedly and flagrantly violat[ing] our nation’s sovereignty by opening and operating a police station in the middle of New York City.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) also announced charges levied against about 40 individuals, most believed to be in China and Indonesia, for organizing “troll farms” online to spread Chinese propaganda and threaten anti-Chinese government dissidents. Some of those charged also stand accused of infiltrating an unnamed American telecommunications company to sabotage virtual events organized by dissidents, such as a memorial for the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
The arrests followed the publication of a bombshell Safeguard Defenders report in September titled “110 Overseas” that revealed that the Chinese government was using “service stations” around the world to spy on, threaten into silence, or attempt to repatriate political dissidents. The report exposed alleged “service stations” in New York as well as in London, Tokyo, Budapest, Sao Paulo, and cities in Africa.
On Tuesday, Safeguard Defenders told the New York Post that the group believes at least one other illegal Chinese police station is still operating in New York City, in addition to several other American cities.
WATCH: Dem Rep. Moulton: We Knew About Chinese Police Stations ‘for a While’ and It Shouldn’t Take This Long to Act — There Are More of Them
A Safeguard Defenders spokeswoman told the newspaper:
We found at least four listed in the US by PRC [People’s Republic of China] public security authorities, plus flagged an additional four overseas Chinese service centers in the US set up by the UFWD [United Front Work Department] networks responsible for manning the stations.
The United Front Work Department is China’s government agency for enforcing communist dogma abroad, as well as for uniting nominally “private” companies and other entities to do the government’s bidding. As then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described in 2020, the United Front “frequently intimidates members of academia, businesses, civil society groups, and Chinese diaspora communities, including members of ethnic and religious minority communities who speak out against horrific human rights abuses taking place in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere in China.”
“Service centers” is the Chinese government’s euphemism for illegal police stations. On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin angrily denied the existence of illegal police stations.
“The U.S. drew malignant association between overseas Chinese service centers and Chinese diplomatic and consular officials and made groundless accusations against China,” Wang said at his regular press briefing. “This is clearly political manipulation. About the ‘overseas police stations,’ we have made it clear many times that the allegation has no factual basis. … There are simply no so-called ‘overseas police stations.’”
The New York Post reported that Safeguard Defenders listed illegal Chinese police stations existing in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California; Houston, Texas; Nebraska, and Minnesota. The original 110 Overseas report identified only the New York locations, in addition to three such stations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly indicated in an interview on Tuesday that law enforcement has been aware of operations in Houston, Texas, for some time.
“This is a huge problem that we have not paid nearly enough attention to and we are going to be plagued with this, because the nerve that they have. This is right in your face,” Kelly told the Fox Business network. “I think the FBI put down another similar operation in Houston about a year ago. So, they’re doing it, and until we stop them — and it doesn’t look like we’re going to stop [them] anytime soon.”
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) similarly told CNN on Monday, following the initial news of the New York arrests, that he believed other illegal Chinese police stations were operating throughout the country.
“Yes, my understanding is that there are,” he told the left-wing network, later adding, “We’ve heard about these police stations existing for a while. And I’m frankly shocked that it’s taken us this long to take them out.”
The FBI has known of the existence of the illegal outposts since at least November, when Director Christopher Wray told the Senate in a hearing that he was “aware” of them.
“We are aware of the existence of these stations … I have to be careful about our specific investigative work but, to me, it is outrageous to think that the Chinese police would attempt to set up shop in New York, let’s say, without proper [legal] coordination,” Wray said at the time. “And so it’s a real problem. It’s something that we’re talking with our foreign partners about as well, because we’re not the only country where this has occurred.”
WATCH: China Operates Police Stations in the US, FBI Chief Admits
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