Two Chinese nationals are facing federal charges for allegedly operating a clandestine police station in Manhattan's Chinatown district on behalf of the Chinese government. Liu Jianwang and Chen Jinping are charged with acting as agents of a foreign government and obstruction of justice according to emerging media reports. This is a breaking story so not much is known at this time.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, described the operation believed to have begun last year as "transnational repression targeting members of the Chinese diaspora community in New York City and elsewhere in the United States." Peace also alleges that the pair tracked Chinese dissidents living in America. "On at least one occasion, an official with the Chinese national police directed one of the defendants, a US citizen who worked at the secret police station, to help locate a pro-democracy activist of Chinese descent living in California" according to Peace.
The charge of acting as a foreign agent carries a statutory maximum of five years in federal prison. That charge is obviously for operating the police station. The obstruction of justice charge carries a statutory maximum of twenty years in federal prison. That charge is for deleting correspondence between the pair and the Chinese government. Normally we wouldn't support throwing the book at people charged for the first time with such things, but anyone who operates an illegal police station on behalf of a foreign power in this country needs to be made an example of.
Having to worry about the FBI using Stalinist tactics on Americans every day is bad enough. The last thing we need are foreign governments operating police stations in our communities. Even if they're only targeting former citizens of theirs we need to make sure that what happens to aliens in America is up to Americans. When we launched this site we never thought about the need to put foreign cops on blast for policing in America, but now that is the case, so if you want to expose a foreign officer for operating in this country feel free to use this service.
Mugshots of Jianwang and Jinping have not been released, so if you have pictures of them feel free to email them to us.