FBI arrests Chinese national for allegedly stalking anti-communist activists
The arrest comes amid ongoing scrutiny of Beijing's efforts to surveil its own citizens while abroad and to gather information on foreign nationals.
The FBI on Thursday arrested a Chinese national attending Berklee College of Music for allegedly stalking and harassing an activist who expressed support for democracy in China.
"Today, the FBI arrested Xiaolei Wu for repeatedly threatening and infringing on the rights of a civic activist who spoke out against the ruling Communist Party of China," read a press release from the bureau. "We believe Mr. Wu stalked, harassed, and reported the victim's support for democracy to law enforcement in the People's Republic of China so it would launch an investigation into the victim and her family."
"This alleged conduct is incredibly disturbing and goes completely against our country's democratic values," the statement continued. "This case also highlight's the FBI's ongoing commitment to protecting the exercise of free speech for all citizens and our efforts to bring to justice anyone who tries to infringe on those rights."
Wu's alleged conduct fits a pattern of the Chinese regime, using its citizens and a network of agents to monitor dissidents and anti-communist agitators outside its borders. Reports emerged in October that China had established an "overseas police service station" to aid its citizens while abroad. Many have alleged, however, that Beijing's global network of such facilities in fact serve as bases to repatriate dissidents.
The arrest comes amid ongoing scrutiny of Beijing's efforts to surveil its own citizens while abroad and to gather information on foreign nationals. The Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a measure to bar the use of Chinese social media platform TikTok on government devices amid concerns about the security of user data and parent company ByteDance's relationship with the ruling communist party.
That measure came the same day that a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a plan to ban the app outright while a separate bipartisan group proposed a plan to sanction Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei for its own alleged ties to the Chinese surveillance apparatus.