A press release from the FBI last week identifies five individuals who were charged with various crimes related to stalking, harassing, and spying on residents of the United States on behalf of the People's Republic of China (PRC) secret police. One of the individuals has been identified as Shujun Wang.
"At the direction of the MSS*," the press release says, "Wang used his position and status within Chinese diaspora community in New York City to collect information about prominent activists, dissidents, and human rights leaders to report that information to the PRC government."
American Family News spoke to David Sauer, a retired senior CIA officer who served as chief of station and deputy chief of station in multiple overseas command positions in East Asia and South Asia. Sauer says the Chinese regime has been targeting various populations of people in this fashion for quite some time – and that monitoring of the Chinese student population within the U.S. has been particularly active.
"In cases like this, they want to monitor to make sure those students don't become what they consider to be radicalized, so they don't become human rights or democracy activists when they return home," Sauer explains.
As the FBI's press release states, pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, advocates for Taiwanese independence, and Uyghur and Tibetan activists are at jeopardy of being watched and reported to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Another individual identified in the FBI's press release is Qiming Lin. He sought the help of a private investigator to manufacture a political scandal, attempting to undermine the congressional campaign of Democrat Yan Xiong of New York.
Sauer calls that attempt "outrageous" and likens it to "old school Cold War activity" meant to compromise an election. The former CIA officers explains that one of the plans discussed would have provided an opportunity to blackmail Xiong, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in Long Island. Xiong, a former student leader involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, is a U.S. military veteran and has been an American citizen for more than 25 years.
"There was talk of hiring a woman, a prostitute, [that could have resulted] in getting compromising photos to use against [the Congressional candidate]," Sauer offers – noting there was also talk of staging a car accident to harm Xiong. In fact, the FBI press release noted Lin's laughter about the plot. "This is brass knuckles kind of stuff," Sauer adds.
Because of examples like this, Sauer says intelligence agencies are constantly "beating the drum" about the counterintelligence threat coming from communist China. A new China-related counterintelligence case is opened nearly every 10 hours, according to the FBI.
"Their espionage activity, particularly involving cybercrimes, against the United States has been successful," Sauer admits. "They've stolen oodles of data from the United States."
In addition, he points out, upwards of 80% of American adults have had their personal data stolen by the regime. He argues that greater efforts must be made to thwart such "brazen" operations.
"[The United States] needs to invest more in trying to counter these activities by giving [the various intel agencies] more resources," he continues, adding that local law enforcement and the Chinese American community itself must be part of the effort.
"Each has to be coalesced together to better focus the country against the Chinese intelligence threat," Sauer concludes.
* Ministry of State Security (MSS) – a civilian intelligence and secret police agency in the People's Republic of China that is responsible for counterintelligence and political security.