By Andrew Thornebrooke
February 2, 2023Updated: February 3, 2023
A covert overseas police station run by the Chinese regime in New York has been shuttered following a reported raid by the FBI.
“The FBI has confirmed that the ‘overseas police station’ in New York linked to Fuzhou has closed,” a State Department spokesperson said in an email to The Epoch Times.
“We continue to be concerned about PRC [People’s Republic of China] transnational repression efforts around the world and are also coordinating with allies and partners on this issue.”
The closure of the facility in New York’s Chinatown comes just weeks after The New York Times reported that FBI agents raided and searched the building at an undisclosed time last fall.
The facility and more than 100 others like it form a network of covert facilities from which experts believe that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is conducting a campaign of transnational repression.
According to two reports published in October 2022 and December 2022 by Safeguard Defenders, a nonprofit organization, the overseas police outposts are used to collect intelligence and even forcibly repatriate Chinese dissidents to the mainland to be imprisoned.
“We are aware of reports regarding alleged PRC ‘overseas police stations,’” the State Department spokesperson said.
“We take this issue very seriously. Establishing so-called overseas police stations without the invitation or approval of the country in which they are operating raises serious issues of respect for the sovereignty of that country.”
The spokesperson referred The Epoch Times to the FBI and Justice Department for further information. The Justice Department didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time, and the FBI declined to comment on the matter.
China’s Communist Regime ‘Violates Sovereignty’
Chinese authorities maintain that the facilities, which operate in 53 nations, assist Chinese immigrants in foreign nations with tasks that would normally be handled by a consulate, such as renewing driver’s licenses and visas.
However, the stations have been linked to the CCP’s United Front Work Department, an agency that works to advance the regime’s interests abroad by spreading propaganda, conducting foreign influence operations, suppressing dissident movements, gathering intelligence, and facilitating the transfer of technology to communist China.
As such, many nations have voiced concern that the facilities are a threat to national security and a violation of sovereignty.
Irish, Canadian, and Dutch officials have called for China to shut down similar police operations in their countries. Likewise, FBI Director Christopher Wray has characterized them as a violation of U.S. sovereignty.
“I have to be careful about discussing our specific investigative work, but to me, it is outrageous to think that the Chinese police would attempt to set up shop—you know, in New York, let’s say—without proper coordination. It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes.”
He refrained at the time from commenting on the legality of the overseas police stations but said they were part of the CCP’s campaign of global transnational repression and linked them to CCP efforts to spy on Americans.
“The reason this is so important is because we have seen a clear pattern of the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party, exporting their repression right here into the U.S.,” Wray said.
“We have seen plenty of situations … where the Chinese government, under the pretext of going after corruption, have essentially used that as a vehicle to surveil. We’ve had situations where they’ve planted bugs inside Americans’ cars.”
There are three other similar facilities in the United States operating in New York and Los Angeles, according to Safeguard Defenders. It’s unclear if they also have been a target of the FBI.