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At least 6 more secret Chinese police stations in US, says report

Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Lan Hongguang/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)
April 19, 2023

There are multiple Chinese “police stations” operating in cities across the U.S., according to an investigative group who exposed the stations after the FBI arrested two people in connection with one of the operations this week.

The not-for-profit organization Safeguard Defenders said there is an additional station in New York City, one in Los Angeles, and other operations in San Francisco, Houston, and cities in Nebraska and Minnesota, the New York Post reported.

It was not clear from the reporting how many of the alleged police stations were in each location.

“We found at least four listed in the U.S. by PRC [People’s Republic of China] public security authorities, plus flagged an additional four overseas Chinese service centers in the US set up by the UFWD networks responsible for manning the stations,” a spokeswoman for Safeguard Defenders said Tuesday.

The spokeswoman referred to the United Front Work Department, an arm of the Chinese Communist Party linked to the overseas police stations, according to previous reports from Safeguard Defenders.

Safeguard Defenders has documented more than 100 of the outposts in dozens of countries, and officials are increasingly worried about them as a way for China to spy and keep tabs on its people abroad. 

The suggestion of additional Chinese police stations in the U.S. comes after the Monday arrests of two New York men charged with running one in New York City’s Chinatown. The men conspired to act as agents of the Chinese government in establishing and running “the first overseas police station” in the U.S., according to the Justice Department.

“As alleged, the defendants and their co-conspirators were tasked with doing the PRC’s bidding, including helping locate a Chinese dissident living in the United States, and obstructed our investigation by deleting their communications,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York. “Such a police station has no place here in New York City – or any American community.”   

The Chinese Embassy has said “there is no need to make people nervous” about the stations, which it said are staffed by volunteers helping Chinese nationals with routine tasks like renewing their Chinese driver’s licenses, as reported by the New York Times. 

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.