For years, thousands of New Yorkers and tourists have walked past an unassuming office building in Lower Manhattan. On Monday, federal prosecutors unsealed criminal charges accusing two men of helping run an unauthorized Chinese police outpost there, one of more than 100 around the globe used to intimidate and control China’s citizens abroad, and to stamp out criticism of the ruling Communist Party.
The two men were arrested on Monday and charged with conspiring to act as agents of the Chinese government, and with obstructing justice. They are said to have used the police outpost to intimidate Chinese dissidents living in the United States, on China’s behalf.
Charges were also unveiled in two related cases: one against 34 Chinese police officers accused of harassing Chinese nationals who lived in the New York area, and another against eight Chinese officials accused of directing a Zoom employee based in China to remove dissidents from the platform.
The Manhattan police outpost, court papers say, was overseen by the Fuzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau, a branch of China’s Ministry of Public Security. It is one of scores of such operations around the world that have unnerved diplomats and intelligence officials. [Continue reading…]