WASHINGTON – US authorities have charged 13 people with trying to “unlawfully influence the United States” on behalf of the People’s Republic of China.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced three separate cases involving separate alleged schemes at a press conference on Monday. A case indicts seven Chinese nationals for attempting to forcibly repatriate a Chinese national. Four others were charged in an alleged espionage scheme that targeted individuals in the United States to act on behalf of China. Two others were charged with interfering in a US criminal investigation into a global telecommunications company.
In the third case, the DOJ did not name the company involved, but details of the complaint against defendants Guochun He and Zheng Wang are consistent with the Eastern District of New York. case Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer, has previously been accused by the US of stealing trade secret and intellectual property information.
The pair say they tried to recruit an unnamed informant, who allegedly paid them $61,000 in Bitcoin in exchange for what they believed was confidential information about the Justice Department’s investigation and the company’s criminal case. Asked during a press conference Monday whether Huawei had any ties to He or Wang, a DOJ official declined to confirm the identity of the company in the complaint.
“As these cases demonstrate, China’s government has sought to interfere with the rights and liberties of individuals in the United States and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights. They have not succeeded,” Garland said. “The Judiciary will not tolerate attempts by any foreign power to undermine the rule of law on which our democracy is based.”
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olson and other Justice Department officials joined Garland at the press conference.