Chinese dissident operating in the US was actually a Chinese spy, prosecutors allege

Philip Lenczycki, DCNF

The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged a human rights activist in Queens with spying on Chinese dissidents, according to a DOJ announcement Wednesday.

Authorities charged Wang Shujun, 73, of Queens, New York City with “conspiracy and other charges related to an espionage and transnational repression scheme,” the DOJ announcement stated. The DOJ also charged Wang’s four alleged China-based Ministry of State Security (MSS) handlers with the same crimes; however, these individuals remain at large, according to the DOJ.

“We allege Wang participated in a pro-democracy organization with the insidious intent to spy on those who joined,” Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll said in a DOJ announcement. “He targeted dissidents living in the United States, putting their lives at risk.”

Wang allegedly founded the Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang Memorial Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to reform-minded leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, in Flushing, Queens, and used his status as a human rights activist to gather intelligence on Uyghurs, Tibetans, Taiwanese independence advocates and Hong Kong pro-democracy activists for his four MSS handlers in China, according to court filings.

Wang then allegedly shared intelligence on his targets with his handlers via encrypted applications, email “diaries” and in-person meetings in China. At least one individual Wang allegedly spied on was later arrested by Chinese authorities.

Salih Hudayar, the prime minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, told TheDCNF on Monday he has been the target of an ongoing Chinese intelligence operation since 2018. Hudayar claims that when a Chinese spy who posed as a human rights volunteer failed to infiltrate his Uyghur group, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, the suspected agent filed baseless charges against him with the Metropolitan Police Department in an attempt to silence him.

Wang Shujun could not be reached for comment by TheDCNF.

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