WASHINGTON, DC- In a congressional hearing last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed concern about the Chinese communists setting up so-called “police stations” in US cities, ostensibly to monitor Chinese citizens and to pursue influence operations.
Given the current state of the FBI, acting as the enforcement arm of the Biden administration, one would think Wray has been taking advice from the Chinese communists.
Appreciate the concern Director Wray – but what the hell are you doing about it? https://t.co/LviikZWoY4
— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) November 18, 2022
US News & World Report reports that back in September, Safeguard Defenders, a human rights organization based in Europe, published a report which detailed the existence of a number of Chinese police “service stations” located around the world, including a number of major cities in the US and Canada. Law Enforcement Today has previously reported on this.
As a result of that report, which has been ignored by Congressional Democrats as well as the Biden White House, Republicans are seeking answers about the issue from the Biden administration about what influence if any these “service stations” carry.
According to the report, the stations are an extension of China’s efforts to pressure Chinese nationals located in foreign countries or their relatives to return to that country to face criminal charges.
They have also been tied to activities of China’s United Front Work Department, a Communist Party body tasked with spreading influence and propaganda overseas.
That led to the following question from Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott:
“It’s been reported that the Chinese Communist Party is operating police stations in the United States in an effort to surveil Chinese dissidents.
“Seems obvious the US shouldn’t allow its most significant geopolitical rival, an oppressive Communist regime, to establish police stations in the US,” Scott continued. “What authority or jurisdiction does the CCP have in the US?”
“I’m very concerned about this. We are aware of the existence of these stations,” Wray told a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.
He acknowledged the FBI is investigating the issue, however refused to detail what that investigation involved.
“But to me, it is outrageous to think that the Chinese police would attempt to set up shop, you know, in New York, let’s say, without proper coordination. It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes,” Wray said.
BREAKING: #BNNUS Reports.
Christopher Wray, FBI Director told lawmakers on Thursday that, United States is very much concerned about Chinese government setting up unauthorized 'police stations' in different U.S. cities, in order to pursue influence operations. #US #Security #FBI pic.twitter.com/EMFcnGm0SN
— Gurbaksh Singh Chahal (@gchahal) November 18, 2022
Wray also said that China has taken to hiring private investigators in the US to conduct some of this work, noting that they’ve “had situations where they’ve planted bugs inside Americans’ cars.”
Meanwhile, House Republicans, including Reps. Greg Murphy (R-NC) and Mike Walz (R-FL) drafted letters to the Justice Department in October asking if the Biden administration was investigating such stations while pointing out that such stations could indeed be used to intimidate US residents of Chinese origin.
News & World Report reached out to the Chinese embassy in Washington for comment, however none was immediately received.
The Chinese foreign ministry has previously denied the existence of such stations. For example, earlier in November, they denied having such stations in the Netherlands after an investigation by Dutch authorities. China claimed they were merely offices designed to help Chinese citizens renew documents, which LET has previously reported.
Under questioning, Wray claimed the United States made a number of indictments involving the Chinese government, accusing them of harassing, stalking, surveilling, and blackmailing people of Chinese descent inside the United States who expressed disagreement with Chinese President-for-life Xi Jinping.
“It’s a real problem and something that we’re talking with our foreign partners about, as well, because we’re not the only country where this has occurred,” Wray continued.
In October, the United States unsealed criminal charges against seven Chinese nationals charged with undertaking a surveillance and harassment campaign against a U.S. resident and his family. This was undertaken in an attempt by the Chinese government to repatriate one of them back to China.
That was the latest in a case undertaken by the DOJ targeting the communist nation’s attempts to track down people who Beijing refers to as criminal suspect, known as “Operation Fox Hunt.”
Xi’s recently acquired and unprecedented third term has led human rights groups across the globe to express concern.
“President Xi’s precedent-breaking third term bodes ill for human rights in China and around the world,” Yaqiu Wang, a senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said last month. “As the space for civil society activism further shrinks in China, it is imperative for the international community to take consequential actions to constrain Xi’s abuses.”
On Friday, China pushed back against the allegations of operating “police stations” in the US, according to NBC News, instead referring to the sites as “volunteer run.”
While the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. acknowledged the existence of so-called volunteer-run sites in the US, they claimed they are not “police stations” or “police service centers.”
“They assist overseas Chinese nationals who need help in accessing the online service platform to get their driving licenses renewed and receive physical check-ups for that purpose,” Embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu told Reuters in a Friday email.
“They are not police personnel from China. The U.S. side should stop the groundless hyping of this issue,” Liu said.
Reuters said they requested a list of the sites; however no response was received.
Meanwhile the FBI has declined to issue any statement beyond what Wray told the Senate committee.
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