According to Representative Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), the recent indictments of two accused Chinese operatives in California show how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is aiming to make the United States a “hunting ground” for dissidents.
In an attempt to get the tax-exempt status of an organization managed and maintained by Falun Gong practitioners revoked, two individuals tried to bribe an undercover investigator acting as an IRS inspector. On May 26, police raided their homes and charged them with conspiracy, bribery, and money laundering.
Rep. Newhouse said the United States should be a haven for those fleeing persecution, not a hunting ground for an authoritarian regime like China, and that this case was evidence of China’s “campaign of transnational repression” in the United States. Falun Gong is a moral and spiritual practice emphasizing honesty, compassion, and tolerance via gradual meditation.
The Chinese government began a campaign of persecution against the group in 1999, sending members to jails, work camps, and indoctrination centers. Persecuting those who practice Falun Gong led to establishment of the 610 Office in 1999.
Between 2018 and 2019, it was formally dismantled, and its duties were transferred to other CCP organizations. After Yu Hui’s involvement in “gross human rights violations,” the State Department issued penalties against him in June 2021.
Two Republicans in the House of Representatives have demanded that the government take a stand against China’s interference in the United States. After a report by the Spanish human rights group Safeguard Defenders exposed China’s New York-based police station in October of last year, 21 members of Congress led by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) wrote to Garland and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Banks said the U.S. government should “confront China’s repression and kick out any Chinese so-called ‘diplomats’ involved in these malign practices.”
To give the secretary of state the authority to impose penalties on the UFWD, Banks and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) presented the Countering Chinese Propaganda Act in February 2021. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) believes that the Chinese dictatorship is relentlessly seeking dissidents, even in the United States, as the alleged bribery case shows.
If foreign governments and individuals are stalking, intimidating, or assaulting people across borders, including in the United States, Congress must approve the bipartisan Transnational Repression Policy Act.