The eight-count indictment is the latest case by the Justice Department against Beijing’s US expatriation campaign
Reuters • Oct. 20, 2022 at 4:50 p.m
By Sarah N Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday unsealed criminal charges against seven Chinese nationals accused of conducting a campaign of surveillance and harassment against a US citizen and his family in an attempt by the Chinese government to return one of them to repatriate to China.
The eight-count indictment, which was unsealed in a U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, is the latest Justice Department case targeting China’s apparent expatriation campaign known as “Operation Fox Hunt.”
The seven accused are Quanzhong An, 55, of Roslyn, New York, his daughter Guangyang An, 34, and five others who are still in China: Tian Peng, Chenghua Chen, Chunde Ming, Xuexin Hou and Weidong Yuan.
The main defendant, Quanzhong An, and his daughter were arrested Thursday morning. The remaining accused remain at large. The US does not have an extradition treaty with China.
According to the indictment, Quanzhong An is accused of working on behalf of China’s Provincial Commission for Disciplinary Inspection to harass and intimidate a Chinese man living in the United States and his son. The man and his son are identified only as “John Doe-1 and John Doe-2”.
As part of the conspiracy, the defendants allegedly forced a family relative to travel from China to the United States to persuade John Doe-1 to return to the country.
At a meeting at a restaurant in September 2018, relative John Doe-2 said he was forced to travel there by the government as part of a plan to repatriate the 100 most wanted fugitives, the indictment said.
Other examples of harassment the family faced included a letter campaign in which one letter warned that “the only way out is to come back and turn yourself in”.
The Chinese government also filed a lawsuit against the father and son in a New York state court, alleging that the father stole money from a Chinese employer and that his son illegally profited from the scheme.
“The victims in this case were trying to flee an authoritarian government, leaving their lives and families behind to seek a better life here. The same government sent agents to the United States to harass, threaten and forcibly bring them back to the People’s Republic of China,” said Michael Driscoll, deputy director of the FBI in the New York office.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Bill Berkrot)