Chinese agent targeted dissidents in US, US prosecutors say
Chinese agent targeted dissidents in US, US prosecutors say

Chinese agent targeted dissidents in US, US prosecutors say

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the closing session of the US-China Climate Change Summit in Los Angeles, California on September 16, 2015. Biden’s journey to a decision on whether he will run for president takes him to California, Michigan and this week. Ohio – Critical states for fundraising and election recognition if he decides to jump in the race. REUTERS / Jonathan Alcorn – GF10000208856

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NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday accused a Chinese citizen of trying to pressure critics of the Chinese government living in the United States to travel to China, where they risk being punished.

Sun Hoy Ying, 53, was charged with two counts of having acted and conspired to act as an unregistered agent of the Chinese government, according to a complaint that was not sealed by the Manhattan federal court.

U.S. prosecutors say the FBI has investigated people who, following instructions from the Chinese government, were involved in a campaign known as “Operation Fox Hunting” or “Operation Skynet” to forcibly repatriate people whom China considered refugees.

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Sun is at large in China, prosecutors said in a statement. It was not known when he left the United States and he could not be immediately reached for comment. The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Today’s accusations reflect the continuing commitment of this office … to combat transnational oppression and to prosecute those who commit it,” said Damian Williams, the U.S. prosecutor in Manhattan, in a statement.

The charges were announced two weeks after federal prosecutors in Brooklyn accused five people of trying to spy on and intimidate Chinese dissidents living in the United States, including a candidate for the U.S. Congress. Three were arrested in that case. Read more

Prosecutors said Sun used private investigators to monitor a U.S. citizen whose then-pregnant daughter was detained against her will in China for eight months.

The Chinese government told the daughter not to seek help from the U.S. government and that she could not leave China until she helped achieve the goal of returning there, prosecutors said.

Sun also worked with a co-conspirator, a U.S. law enforcement officer, to push another target for the operation to comply with China’s demands, prosecutors said.

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Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Sandra Maler

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