Chinese agents worked to silence critics here in the US

China’s efforts to stifle dissent do not stop at the Chinese border. According to three criminal complaints revealed yesterday, Chinese agents were actively involved in targeting and harassing dissidents here in the United States. One of the schemes involved a former leader of the Tiananmen Square student democracy protests who came to America and recently became a candidate for office in New York.

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Another target was a Democratic candidate for Congress in New York, Xiong Yan, according to officials familiar with the case. Yan was involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Court documents say the Chinese agent, Qiming Lin, contacted a private investigator in New York and encouraged him to “find dirt” in order to discourage Yan from staying in the race.

“Can we manufacture something?” the agent asked, according to court documents. Lin recommended hiring a prostitute and even suggested that the private investigator could figure out some say to injure Yan. “Right now, we don’t want him to be elected,” Lin said, according to the documents.

What the Chinese agent Qiming Lin didn’t know is that the private investigator he hired was working with the FBI.

The private investigator, however, was an F.B.I. source and, according to the complaint, kept the authorities apprised of the efforts. In a voice mail message quoted in the complaint, Mr. Lin suggested that the investigator physically attack Mr. Yan, saying, “beat him until he cannot run for election.”…

Mr. Lin remains at large, the authorities said. He faces two counts related to conspiracy to commit interstate harassment.

So it’s no exaggeration to say a Chinese agent was prepared to have someone beat up a naturalized US citizen (who is also a veteran who served in Iraq) on US soil to prevent him from running for office. Talk about foreign election interference. Yan said he knew nothing about the plot until reporters started asking him about it Wednesday.

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He said he had not witnessed any harassment or intimidation and had not been contacted by the FBI or Justice Department, and that he did not know why the Chinese government would be interested in his campaign for Congress.

“This has nothing to do with them. Why they do that, I can’t understand,” he said. He added: “I’m getting mad. I have nothing to do with them. I’m a purely American citizen.”

Another complaint shows Chinese agents targeted a dissident artist living in California.

Fan “Frank” Liu, the president of what prosecutors described as a “purported media organization,” and Matthew Ziburis, a former Florida correctional officer working as a bodyguard, are accused of trying to discredit or gather intelligence on dissidents in New York, California and Indiana…

Mr. Liu and Mr. Ziburis also targeted the dissident artist directly, according to the complaint, by having Mr. Ziburis pose as an art dealer to gain more information about his artwork and photograph his home. Mr. Ziburis also put a GPS device on the artist’s car…

The artist is unnamed in the complaint, but it meets the description of Chen Weiming, a Chinese-born sculptor known for his political activism and artistic protests against the Chinese government.

Chen created a provocative sculpture of Xi Jinping as a virus titled “CCP Virus.” It was put on display in the California desert last year.

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But not long after it was revealed, it was burned down. It’s not clear that the agents mentioned above were responsible for the vandalism. They were all apparently in New York when it happened, but a text message from Mr. Sun did ask Mr. Liu to “Destroy all sculptures and things that are not good to our leaders.”

There’s more but what I think these criminal complaints show is that China has no hesitation about using spies and agents on US soil to interfere with anyone they consider a dissident from the CCP.

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David Strom 8:16 PM | July 17, 2024
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