Apparently, China thinks that old fashioned extortion will work against the United States. The communist government has threatened to seize Americans in the country unless the U.S. releases and drops the charges against several “scholars” who were arrested.
Beijing is threatening to take Americans in China hostage if the Department of Justice doesn’t drop its prosecution of several Chinese research scientists arrested on U.S. soil this year, according to a report on Saturday.
Chinese government officials have repeatedly warned their U.S. counterparts that Americans in China face being detained if its demands are not met, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The drastic action — dubbed “hostage diplomacy” — would be in retaliation for the arrests of at least five Chinese military-affiliated scholars visiting American universities to conduct research.
The scientists were charged with visa fraud for allegedly lying to U.S. immigration authorities about their active duty statuses with China’s People’s Liberation Army.
The nation first began issuing the warnings over the summer, after Chinese research scientist Juan Tang, who worked at the University of California, Davis, was questioned by the FBI and took up residence for a month in China’s San Francisco consulate.
Chinese officials vowed to retaliate if she wasn’t allowed to leave the consulate and return home, according to the report.
U.S. officials expected China to make good on the threat — but it didn’t, and the FBI arrested Tang in July when she left consulate grounds, the Journal reported.
Tang is currently out on bail after pleading not guilty to visa fraud charges. Her lawyer, Malcolm Segal, denied that China had sought to interfere in his client’s case.
At least four other researchers have been accused of hiding their ties to the Chinese military and pleaded not guilty to similar charges.
The State Department ordered China in July to close its Houston consulate and told all Chinese military researchers remaining in the U.S. to leave.
Sources told the Journal the decision was made after U.S. officials said Chinese diplomats were coordinating with the scholars to collect cutting-edge scientific research from American universities.
A State Department spokesman declined to address China’s alleged threats but told the newspaper, “We warn U.S. citizens that business disputes, court orders to pay a settlement, or government investigations into both criminal and civil issues may result in an exit ban which will prohibit your departure from China until the issue is resolved.”
“We are aware that the Chinese government has, in other instances, detained American, Canadian and other individuals without legal basis to retaliate against lawful prosecutions and to exert pressure on their governments, with a callous disregard of the individuals involved,” said John Demers, head of the Justice Department’s national security division.
“If China wants to be seen as one of the world’s leading nations, it should respect the rule of law and stop taking hostages.”
Chinese authorities see U.S. Consulates as “hostile forces” that conduct “infiltration and sabotage” activities on Chinese soil and have ordered officials to monitor key U.S. diplomats, according to a leaked document obtained by The Epoch Times.
At a time when bilateral relations hit a historical low, the document from Leizhou city of China’s southeastern Guangdong Province offers a rare glimpse into how the Chinese regime deals with American diplomats.
In a four-page “work plan” dated April 2018, the Leizhou Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau described the “U.S. and other Western consulates in China” as key targets that could threaten the region’s political and social stability.
All departments and units within the bureau must work to counter such influences, by effectively “blocking [the consulates] from establishing connections with key [Chinese] political figures, prominent lawyers, ‘public intellectuals,’ ‘rights defenders,’ and special interest groups,” the bureau told its staff.
The bureau’s goal is to “break all threats and nets” and leave no room for such attempts, the document stated.
To address the perceived threats, the bureau outlined a four-step plan with measures such as watching for “infiltration activities” organized by foreign consulates in Guangzhou city, the capital of Guangdong, and “use all efforts”—including “reminders, warnings, and a mild degree of force”—to discourage the aforementioned individuals from attending events held by consulates.
The bureau staff were to monitor organizations and individuals that have “close ties” with foreign consulates, and gather any relevant information, such as their background and any changes in their “asset accounts,” to cut off any “financial enticements” from U.S. Consulates. Top of FormBottom of Form
The office also planned to establish a database on “key” foreign diplomats in China and use big data to track down their whereabouts. “It’s a countermeasure against ongoing infiltration and subversion,” the document stated.