13 Face US Charges in Chinese Spy Cases

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(Newser)

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced charges Monday against 13 people in three cases of Chinese spying or efforts to exert illegal influence in the US. Two of those facing criminal charges are Chinese intelligence officers who, the Justice Department said, paid a US government employee for confidential information in an effort to hurt the US prosecution of Huawei, a telecommunications company based in China. “The defendants believed that they had recruited the US employee as an asset,” Garland said, per the Hill, “but in fact, the individual they recruited was actually a double agent, working on behalf of the FBI.”


At a press conference, Garland detailed the three cases, which he said involve:

  • Coercion: Seven Chinese nationals tried to repatriate a Chinese national who was living in the US through a campaign to “harass and coerce” him. The effort included pressuring a relative to come to the US to convey the Chinese government’s threats. The Justice Department said it was part of China’s “Operation Fox Hunt,” which the US considers an “extralegal repatriation effort.”
  • Recruitment: Four others were charged in an intelligence scheme to get people in the US to act on China’s behalf, NBC News reports. To contact professors and law enforcement agents they wanted to convert to agents, the Chinese nationals used the purported Institute for International Studies as a cover. Three of the suspects are intelligence officers for Ministry of State Security.
  • Court interference: The two intelligence officers charged in the Huawei case paid $61,000 in Bitcoin to the employee they were recruiting as an informant, the federal complaint says. It did not name the company, but the details of the case are consistent with Huawei’s.


Of those charged, only the two people named in the coercion case have been arrested, per ABC News. “Each of these cases lays bare the Chinese government’s flagrant violation of international laws as they work to project their authoritarian view around the world,” Garland said Monday, “including within our own borders.” (Read more Chinese spies stories.)

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