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FBI chief says shadowy Chinese police stations in the US are 'outrageous' and he's 'very concerned'

Business Insider logo Business Insider 11/18/2022 (John Haltiwanger)
FBI Director Christopher Wray Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images © Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images FBI Director Christopher Wray Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray said he's "very concerned" about secret Chinese police stations in the US.
  • "We are aware of the existence of these stations," Wray said during a Senate hearing.
  • Wray said it would be "outrageous" for China to set up such stations without proper coordination.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told US senators on Thursday that he was "very concerned" about reports of secret Chinese police stations in the US, which he characterized as part of a "clear pattern" of Beijing "exporting their repression."

"It's been reported that the Chinese Communist Party is operating police stations in the United States in an effort to surveil Chinese dissidents," GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said to Wray during the Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing. 

"Seems obvious the US shouldn't allow its most significant geopolitical rival, an oppressive Communist regime, to establish police stations in the US," Scott added. "What authority or jurisdiction does the CCP have in the US?"

"I'm very concerned about this," Wray said in response. "We are aware of the existence of these stations."

A September report from Safeguard Defenders, a human rights group based in Madrid, Spain, said that China has established dozens of  "overseas police service stations" across the world — including in New York. 

The FBI chief on Thursday said it would be "outrageous" for Chinese police to "set up shop" in New York "without proper coordination."

"It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes," Wray added.

The Chinese government has rejected the mounting allegations it has overseas police stations.

But Wray said there have been multiple indictments related to the Chinese government "engaging in uncoordinated law, quote unquote, law enforcement action, right here in the United States, harassing, stalking, surveilling, blackmailing people who they just don't like or who disagree with the Xi regime."

"It's a real problem," Wray said, underscoring the US was not the only country where China is engaged in such activities. 

When asked if the FBI knew whether China was surveilling US citizens, Wray said China has hired private investigators in the US to conduct some of this work. Wray also said, "We've had situations where they've planted bugs inside Americans' cars."

The FBI chief said it's important for Chinese-Americans and Chinese dissidents to call the FBI and report if they believe they've been targeted by the Chinese government. 

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who recently gained an unprecedented third term, has been decried across the world for crackdowns on dissidents and human rights abuses.

"President Xi's precedent-breaking third term bodes ill for human rights in China and around the world," Yaqiu Wang, a senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said last month. "As the space for civil society activism further shrinks in China, it is imperative for the international community to take consequential actions to constrain Xi's abuses."


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