Massachusetts man arrested for spying on Chinese dissidents for Beijing
A Massachusetts resident Litang Liang has been detained for allegedly supplying information on Chinese dissidents in the United States to the Chinese government, according to the Justice Department. Liang was arrested on charges of acting as an agent for the People’s Republic of China (PRC) without informing US authorities reports Channel News Asia.
The news of the 63 year old’s arrest coincided with the sentencing of John Shing-wan Leung, a 78 year old US citizen, to life imprisonment for espionage in a court in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou. Between 2018 and 2022, Liang is accused of providing information on Boston-area residents, dissident individuals, and groups, including those with pro-Taiwan leanings, to Chinese government officials.
The Justice Department stated that Liang organized a counter-protest against pro-democracy dissidents in Boston and supplied names and photographs of dissidents and potential recruits to China’s Ministry of Public Security. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said in a statement…
“We will not tolerate the PRC’s efforts to interfere with public discourse and threaten civic participation in the United States.”
“This case demonstrates, once again, the lengths that the PRC government, including its Ministry of Public Security, will go to target people in the US who exercise their rights to speak out against the PRC.”
If convicted of acting as an agent of a foreign government, Liang could face up to 10 years in prison. An additional five years could be added if convicted of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government.
The espionage case involving Leung, who is also a Hong Kong permanent resident, is likely to exacerbate tensions between Beijing and Washington. US-China relations are already strained over issues such as trade, human rights, and Taiwan. The arrest comes after an unofficial pause in high-level contact between Washington and Beijing following the US shooting down of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon in February.
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