The People's Republic of China flag and the U.S. Stars and Stripes fly on a lamp post along Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol in Washington


  • Two New York residents were arrested for allegedly running an undisclosed Chinese government police station
  • One of the suspects had a "longstanding relationship of trust" with Chinese law enforcement
  • A total of 34 members of China's Ministry of Public Security were charged with harassing activists

Alleged Chinese agents have been arrested and charged for allegedly helping establish a secret police station in New York City on behalf of China's government and targeting Chinese democracy activists and dissidents within the United States, the FBI and federal prosecutors said Monday.

Two New York residents were each charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York with conspiring to act as agents of the Chinese government for allegedly operating the undeclared police station in Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood, Fox News reported.

Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney for the office, said the suspects, identified as Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping, "destroyed evidence of their communications with the Chinese national police" upon learning they were being investigated by the FBI.

The arrested individuals also failed to provide prior notice to the attorney general before they set up shop in New York City, Peace added.

Peace noted that Lu, one of the suspects, had a "longstanding relationship of trust" with Chinese law enforcement even before helping establish the secret police station in New York in early 2022.

Lu was enlisted in 2018 in efforts to force an alleged Chinese fugitive to return to China, according to the prosecutor. The victim complained about being repeatedly harassed to return to China and receiving threats of violence against his family in the U.S., Peace added.

Peace alleged that the secret Chinese police station was also involved in pressure campaigns against pro-democracy activists.

"An official with the Chinese National Police directed one of the defendants – a U.S. citizen who worked at the secret police station – to help locate a pro-democracy activist of Chinese descent living in California. In other words, the Chinese national police appear to have been using the station to track a U.S. resident on U.S. soil," he said.

The suspects appeared in court Monday afternoon before a magistrate judge.

Peace accused China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) of "repeatedly and flagrantly [violating] our nation's sovereignty, including by opening and operating a police station in the middle of New York City."

Brooklyn's top federal prosecutor said 34 MPS police officers were charged with conspiracy to transmit interstate threats and conspiracy to commit interstate harassment.

The Chinese police officers were part of a task force called the "912 Special Project Working Group," which "operates as an Internet troll farm" by creating thousands of fake online accounts to harass, track and threaten Chinese dissidents and activists, Peace said.

The prosecutor added that the MPS officers also used fake online personas to spread the Chinese government's propaganda and overwhelm pro-democracy activists.

In September 2022, human rights watchdog Safeguard Defenders released a report revealing that there were more than a hundred Chinese police stations worldwide, including in New York.

Safeguard Defenders said China was using clandestine secret police stations to persuade overseas Chinese citizens to return to their homeland using several tools, such as harassing family members or denying their children the right to education, as well as online and physical harassment.

Between April 2021 and July 2022, China "persuaded" 230,000 Chinese nationals to return to the country to face potential criminal charges, the watchdog said.

After the report was published, 14 countries launched investigations into secret Chinese police stations, including Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.

China denied operating undisclosed police stations overseas, telling CNN that the report is being used to create tensions and smear the country.

But the Chinese government claimed that the suspicious facilities were only administrative centers aimed at helping Chinese expatriates with their official documents, such as renewing their driver's licenses.

A photo of the alleged Chinese 'police station' in Manhattan, released in a court document