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FBI director concerned about secret Chinese police stations in US

The FBI is deeply concerned that the Chinese government has set up unauthorized “police stations” in US cities to potentially track down and harass dissidents living abroad, FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers on Thursday.

‘I am very concerned about this. We are aware of the existence of these stations,” Wray said at a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Wray declined to give details of the FBI’s investigative steps on the matter, adding, “But to me it’s outrageous to think that the Chinese police would try to establish themselves, you know, in New York, let’s say, without proper coordination.

“It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes,” he added.

The existence of the so-called police stations, including one in a nondescript building above a Manhattan ramen shop, was revealed in a September report by Safeguard Defenders, a European-based human rights organization.

Last month, DailyMail.com visited Manhattan’s East Broadway station, which was closed. The outpost is next to an acupuncturist, where a clerk was surprised to learn that it was a secret police office.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers on Thursday he is deeply concerned about the Chinese government setting up unauthorized “police stations” in US cities

In February, a Chinese “police station” operated by the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau opened in this lower Manhattan block. The district is known as Little Fuzhou

According to Chinese-language media reports, the Manhattan station opened on Feb. 15 as a branch of the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau, to “make overseas Chinese feel the care and love of the motherland.”

Fuzhou is the capital of Fujian province in southeastern China. The neighborhood in which New York station is located is known as Little Fuzhou, an ethnic enclave within the greater Chinatown, with many immigrants from the region.

Like many of its police stations around the world, the New York site is promoted as a place to help Chinese nationals with services such as driver’s license tests.

But Safeguard Defenders expressed concern that the network of overseas stations has been used to monitor and harass dissidents who have fled China, and pressured them to return to their homeland.

The report described cases where Chinese expatriates video-conversed officials in China, as well as their own relatives, and warned of the consequences for their families left behind in China if they did not return.

It is part of a sweeping program known in Beijing as “Operation Fox Hunt,” which involves extrajudicial repatriation teams clandestinely attempting to force expatriates to return to China.

Many of China's police stations are open in Western Europe, with only four in North America

Many of China's police stations are open in Western Europe, with only four in North America

Many of the stations are open in Western Europe, with only four in North America

Pictured: Chinese officials operate at their New York City police station.  It is one of at least 54 active around the world and the only one known to operate in the US

Pictured: Chinese officials operate at their New York City police station.  It is one of at least 54 active around the world and the only one known to operate in the US

Pictured: Chinese officials operate at their New York City police station. It is one of at least 54 active around the world and the only one known to operate in the US

In the summer of 2022, Chinese official statements claimed that some 230,000 alleged “fugitives” had been “persuaded to return” between April 2021 and July 2022.

The report also linked the stations to activities of China’s United Front Work Department, an organ of the Communist Party charged with spreading its influence and propaganda abroad.

Republicans in Congress have been asking the Biden administration for answers about secret police agencies and their influence.

Wray, who was asked by Republican Senator Rick Scott whether such stations violated US law, said the FBI was “examining the legal parameters.”

The FBI director acknowledged but declined to give details of the FBI’s investigative work on the matter.

Republicans in the US House of Representatives, including Greg Murphy and Mike Waltz, sent letters to the Justice Department in October asking whether President Joe Biden’s administration was investigating such stations, arguing that they could be used to Intimidate US residents of Chinese descent.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Quanzhong An, 55, and his daughter Guangyang An, 34, were charged last month for a surveillance and harassment campaign against a Chinese national living in the US as part of a forced repatriation campaign against him

Quanzhong An, 55, and his daughter Guangyang An, 34, were charged last month for a surveillance and harassment campaign against a Chinese national living in the US as part of a forced repatriation campaign against him

Quanzhong An, 55, and his daughter Guangyang An, 34, were charged last month for a surveillance and harassment campaign against a Chinese national living in the US as part of a forced repatriation campaign against him

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied it had such stations in the Netherlands following an investigation by Dutch authorities.

China said they were offices to help Chinese citizens renew documents.

Wray said the United States had filed a number of charges involving the Chinese government harassing, stalking, monitoring and blackmailing people in the United States who disagreed with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“It’s a real problem and something we’re also talking about with our foreign partners because we’re not the only country where this has happened,” he said.

Quanzhong, 55, is a Chinese-American businessman facing illegal rendition charges

Quanzhong, 55, is a Chinese-American businessman facing illegal rendition charges

Quanzhong, 55, is a Chinese-American businessman facing illegal rendition charges

The United States opened criminal charges in October against seven Chinese nationals accused of waging a campaign of intimidation against a US resident and his family in an attempt by the Chinese government to repatriate one of them back to China.

The seven suspects allegedly surveilled and harassed the family of an “elite” overseas Chinese national they named John Doe-1 as part of a forced repatriation campaign against him.

Two of the accused — the main defendant, Quanzhong An, 55, and his daughter Guangyang An, 34, — were arrested, while the other five defendants remain at large.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin condemned the charge, saying Beijing was engaged in “fighting crimes, repatriating fugitives and recovering illicit proceeds” and this is supported by the international community.

“By making these allegations, the US is denying basic facts and discrediting China’s law enforcement efforts,” Wang said Friday. “We are firmly against it.”

It was the Justice Department’s latest case against China’s efforts to track down people abroad whom Beijing calls criminal suspects, known as “Operation Fox Hunt.”

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