FBI counterintelligence agents raided the New York office of an alleged overseas Chinese government police station sometime in fall 2022, The New York Times reported Thursday.
During the raid, federal authorities reportedly seized materials from the third-floor office of America Changle Association, a Manhattan Chinatown organization that claims to serve overseas Chinese, according to the report, which cites FBI agents who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The report comes several months after the Daily Caller News Foundation revealed in October that a March 2021 video conference between Changle and Chinese government officials had identified Lu Jianwang, Changle’s former chairman, as a “propagandist” and “special liaison officer” who worked with the United Front Work Department (UFWD).
The UFWD is a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) agency that has engaged in “clandestine foreign intelligence work, propaganda and influence operations,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
The overseas Chinese government police station allegedly stationed within Changle’s New York office is reportedly linked to an international Chinese police unit known as 110 Overseas, headquartered in Fuzhou in China’s Fujian province, according to a report from Safeguard Defenders, a human rights group which first revealed the existence of Beijing’s global police network in September.
110 Overseas allegedly engages in extradition operations in which purported Chinese “fugitives” are coerced by overseas police to return to China, Safeguard Defenders reported. However, approximately half of the individuals involved in the extradition operations are not actually criminal fugitives, Safeguard Defenders claims; rather, they are Chinese “dissidents or individuals that had fled religious and/or ethnic persecution.”
Fuzhou has reportedly stationed overseas police headquarters in dozens of countries across five continents, Safeguard Defenders reported, including in Ireland and the Netherlands. Both countries reportedly ordered for the police stations to be closed in 2022, according to multiple sources.
Although the FBI raid appears to be the first instance of government agents seizing evidence from an alleged overseas Chinese police station, it remains unclear what the FBI was searching for during the fall raid and what was seized within Changle’s headquarters, the NYT reported.
110 Overseas’ alleged extradition operations appear similar in nature to the CCP’s Operation Fox Hunt and Operation Skynet, which are Ministry of Public Security campaigns targeting high-value overseas Chinese who have run afoul the CCP, Safeguard Defenders reported.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged six individuals with allegedly conspiring to act as illegal agents of China in October, according to a DOJ announcement. The charges alleged that the individuals were involved in Operation Fox Hunt and had conducted a “multi-year campaign of harassment” aiming to coerce a U.S. resident to return to China.
America Changle, the Chinese Embassy and New York City Mayor Eric Adams did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.