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House select committee seeks answers from FBI on China police 'outposts'

Published Feb 24, 2023 05:57PM ET
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© Reuters

By Michael Martina and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of a new U.S. House of Representatives select committee focused on China sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray on Friday seeking answers about alleged Chinese-government run police outposts on U.S. soil.

Wray told Congress in November he was deeply concerned about Beijing setting up unauthorized "police stations" in U.S. cities to possibly pursue influence operations, but declined at the time to detail the bureau's investigative work on the issue.

"Through these outposts and other tools of coercion, the CCP has violated the rights of American citizens, residents, and visitors," the committee's Republican chairman, Representative Mike Gallagher, wrote in the letter seen by Reuters, referring to China's ruling Communist Party.

Gallagher said he worried the FBI had been "late to the game" in investigating the matter, and asked Wray to disclose when the FBI became aware of the issue and how widespread such outposts were in the United States.

The FBI did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the letter. 

European-based rights organization Safeguard Defenders published a report in September revealing dozens of Chinese police "service stations" around the world and linked them to activities of China's United Front Work Department, a Communist Party body charged with spreading its influence overseas.

China has denied operating "police stations" on U.S. soil, calling certain sites volunteer-run.

Congressional staffers say one of the committee's priorities will be to shine a light on what U.S. officials have called the threat of transnational repression by the Chinese government. These tactics include harassing, stalking, surveilling, and blackmailing people in the United States who disagree with Beijing's policies.

Officials say the victims of such operations are often of Chinese heritage.

Separately on Friday, the committee announced it would hold its first hearing, titled "The Chinese Communist Party's Threat to America," on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. EDT (2400 GMT).

A committee spokesperson said witnesses would include two former officials from the administration of Republican ex-President Donald Trump, H.R. McMaster and Matt Pottinger, as well as Tong Yi, Wei Jingsheng and Scott Paul.

McMaster, a retired Army lieutenant general, served as Trump's national security adviser. Pottinger was a deputy national security adviser.

Wei is a prominent Chinese dissident and Tong his former secretary. Paul is president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.



House select committee seeks answers from FBI on China police 'outposts'

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Comments (1)
gab nea
gab nea Feb 27, 2023 6:23AM ET
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I agree the FBI needs to be investigated as to who and why the agency and Comey announced an investigation into hillary just prior to the 2016 election and slinked it back a few days later? or why they maligned peter strok and lisa page? the Republicans lie more than dogs do!
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