tirsdag 18. januar 2022

Operation Fox Hunt: How China Exports Repression Using a Network of Spies Hidden in Plain Sight

Launched in 2014, Operation Fox Hunt and a program called Operation Sky Net claim to have caught more than 8,000 international fugitives. The targets are not murderers or drug lords, but Chinese public officials and businesspeople accused — justifiably and not — of financial crimes. Some of them have set up high-rolling lives overseas with lush mansions and millions in offshore accounts. But others are dissidents, whistleblowers or relatively minor figures swept up in provincial conflicts.

In 2019, an immigration judge in New York granted political asylum to a former social security clerk from Beijing. The young clerk had landed on Fox Hunt’s most-wanted list, but he argued in U.S. court that his former bosses in China had framed him for embezzling about $100,000 after he denounced their corruption. Despite the judge’s ruling, he remains under federal protection because of ongoing harassment by Chinese government operatives.

Former Assistant Attorney General John Demers, who led the National Security Division of the Justice Department until last month, said China sets a dangerous precedent when it pursues expatriates here, violating U.S. laws and abusing human rights in both countries.