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Senators urge FBI, DOJ to investigate Chinese spy centers in US disguised as ‘service centers’

Then-congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr/Released)
July 11, 2023

A group of Republican senators urged the FBI and the Department of Justice in a letter delivered Monday to investigate a network of service centers in the United States that are affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party.

The Republican senators’ letter has turned the spotlight on a network of Chinese Communist Party-linked entities called the “Overseas Chinese Service Centers” that are reportedly functioning within the United States.

The senators’ letter, authored by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Bill Haggerty (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Kevin Cramer (N.D.), urged FBI Director Christopher Wray and Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen to “act decisively” and “immediately commence an inquiry.”

According to the Daily Caller, the senators highlighted their concerns about the allegations and requested that the DOJ and FBI answer crucial questions about the existence and operations of the Overseas Chinese Service Center network.

“The CCP’s intent is clear with its operation of these OCSCs: to intimidate and surveil Chinese Americans with dissenting opinions,” the senators wrote, adding, “We have witnessed over the last few years China’s malign influence in the United States and around the world, underscoring why it is critical that these allegations outlined in the Daily Caller’s reporting be thoroughly investigated. Thus, we request that the FBI and DOJ immediately commence an inquiry into this matter.”

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The Overseas Chinese Service Centers, operating under the United Front Work Department (UFWD) – a CCP intelligence service – are embedded in at least seven non-profits spread across key U.S. cities, including San Francisco, St. Paul, St. Louis, Omaha, Charlotte, Houston, and Salt Lake City.

The launch of the Overseas Chinese Service Centers reportedly took place between 2014 and 2017, with their activities ranging from mundane administrative duties to more insidious ones, like alleged intimidation and surveillance of dissenting Chinese Americans, according to The Daily Caller.

Despite their seemingly innocuous function of processing passport applications for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Chinese Service Center branches have met with personnel from China’s national police authority, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), raising suspicions about their operations.

Evidence of U.S. Overseas Chinese Service Center officials visiting a police command center in Zhejiang province, China, further amplifies these concerns.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor