Five people accused of spying for the Chinese regime on Americans critical of Beijing

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. and Chinese flags are seen in Beijing, <a class=China, January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang” height=”533″ src=”” width=”800″ />
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. and Chinese flags are seen in Beijing, China, January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

Five people identified as agents of the Chinese regime were accused of spying, stalking and harassing Chinese dissidents living in the United Statess, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

One of the victims is a congressional candidate in New York whose electoral candidacy was sabotaged by Beijing in which false information about the candidate was shared.

One of the spies, identified as Qiming Lin, is accused in a federal complaint of contacting a private investigator seeking information about the candidate’s phone number, address and vehicle.. She later asked the investigator to “dig things up from 1989 to now” looking for flaws against the candidate, such as evidence of crimes or other misconduct.

The effort is part of what US officials have identified as a broader strategy by the Chinese regime to locate, silence and threaten dissidents living abroad. In 2020, The Justice Department has charged eight people with working on behalf of the Chinese regime in a pressure campaign aimed at forcing a New Jersey man wanted by Beijing to return to China to face charges..

The investigator Lin is accused of contacting was actually an FBI source, who reported the initial communication to agents and said he believed Lin to be a retired Chinese Ministry of State Security agent.. In an affidavit, the investigating FBI agent wrote that “based on the conduct outlined in this document and my experience and training, I assess that LIN continued to act on behalf of the MSS, even if he ostensibly retired.”

The candidate is described in court documents as a Chinese dissident and student leader of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Although the candidate’s name is not identified in the complaint, biographical details in the document match those of Yan Xiong. , who announced his Democratic Party candidacy for a seat in Congress from New York City in this year’s election.

A phone call to a number listed on his campaign website was answered by a man who identified himself as a friend and said he would pass the message on to Yan.. An email sent to an address on their website was not immediately returned.

Lin remains at large, authorities said. He faces charges including conspiracy to commit interstate stalking.

(With information from AP)

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