The bill, as obtained by Breitbart News on Monday, is only two pages long and would require Biden to “take such actions as may be necessary to — (1) provide for the closure of the Consulate General … and the expulsion of all diplomatic personnel assigned to that mission by not later than 72 hours after the date of the enactment of this Act.” Similarly, the bill would require the executive to shut down the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York and cancel “the visas or other entry documentation of all personnel assigned to that Office who are citizens of the People’s Republic of China.”
The consulate serves as a diplomatic outpost for China. The Hong Kong office exists to provide certain trade privileges to the port city as a result of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, which — between 1997 and 2020 — allowed Hong Kong to govern itself as a free, capitalist society autonomous from Beijing.
The Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) effectively ended the policy in 2020 by passing a “National Security Law” — which, under “One Country, Two Systems,” should not have any legal weight in Hong Kong — that essentially criminalized any dissent from the Communist Party. China later appointed a Party loyalist as the city’s chief executive and has forced nearly all prominent dissidents into prison or exile, shutting down a pro-democracy protest movement that flourished in 2019 and ending Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Reps. Tiffany and Gooden described the bill as a response to last week’s revelations that multiple law enforcement actions had taken place in New York to shut down an illegal police station that China had established to persecute dissidents on U.S. soil.
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“The Chinese Communist Party’s brazen and provocative behavior has once again crossed a line,” Rep. Tiffany said in a statement. “The Biden administration must respond forcefully to Beijing’s outrageous attempts to monitor and intimidate dissidents on American soil — and that starts with telling their local ‘diplomats’ to pack their bags and get out.”
“American cities cannot become hunting grounds for Chinese secret police,” Rep. Gooden said. “The Biden Administration’s supposedly blissful ignorance of foreign enforcers operating on home soil is disturbing. The American people demand answers, and the Republican Majority will deliver them.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed last week the arrests of two alleged Chinese Communist Party agents, “Harry” Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping, on charges of what U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace described as “repeatedly and flagrantly violat[ing] our nation’s sovereignty by opening and operating a police station in the middle of New York City.”
The DOJ also announced charges against dozens of individuals outside the country, most in China or Indonesia, accused of running “troll farm” operations to circulate Chinese propaganda and intimidate or silence anti-communist dissidents in the United States.
American officials said the New York illegal police station did not pursue criminal cases but rather persecuted, intimidated, and silenced anti-Chinese regime officials in the area. The indicted were also accused of infiltrating an unnamed American “telecommunications company” to prevent dissidents from organizing virtual events that offended the Communist Party, such as a memorial for the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
The human rights organization Safeguard Defenders revealed the existence of this illegal police station — along with a host of others throughout Europe, South America, and Africa — in a report last year. The New York City charges are the first of their kind anywhere in the world against these illicit operations. According to the NGO, the New York office operated as an offshore unit of the Fuzhou branch of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS), a federal-level agency.
Following the announcement of the law enforcement actions, Safeguard Defenders told the New York Post that it had reason to believe the Chinese government was operating “at least four” police stations in America — including the one shut down in Manhattan — in locations as diverse as California, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Texas.
Like New York, the Chinese government maintained a consulate in Houston, Texas, through 2020, but the administration of former President Donald Trump shut it down on the grounds that it operated as “a hub of spying and intellectual property theft,” according to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Houston is among the cities Safeguard Defenders listed as hosting an illegal Chinese police station.
Little public information exists on the geographic scope of operations of the alleged illegal Chinese police station in Manhattan, which is surrounded by some of the country’s largest Chinese and Asian-American communities.
When asked if he is concerned that, in addition to the other operations identified by Safeguard Defenders, Rep. Tiffany’s own constituents in Wisconsin could be under the threat of transnational repression, the lawmaker replied that he believed Beijing’s operations could be much larger than currently understood.
“While no local reports have emerged as of yet, it’s important to remember that China’s security apparatus never takes a day off,” Rep. Tiffany told Breitbart News. “Whether it’s through Confucius Institutes or secret police stations, Communist China has a habit of harassment, espionage, and influence peddling, and I don’t think this will be the last time we hear of this.”
The Chinese government has not denied the existence of the illegal police stations but insists that they are “service stations” developed during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic intended to help Chinese nationals stranded abroad with benign bureaucratic activity such as renewing their driver’s licenses.