- YAHOO NEWS - Oct 28, 2020 -
AFP - Chris Lefkow -
Five Chinese agents were arrested on Wednesday for their roles in an operation targeting Beijing's opponents in the United States, US officials announced.
Assistant Attorney General John Demers said charges had been filed against eight people involved in an "illegal Chinese law enforcement operation known as Fox Hunt."
"Since 2014, at the direction of Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping, China has been engaged in a global operation known as Fox Hunt," Demers said at a press conference.
"China describes Fox Hunt as an international anti-corruption campaign in which it seeks to locate legitimate fugitives around the world and bring them to China to face genuine criminal charges," Demers said.
"But in many instances the hunted are opponents of Communist Party Chairman Xi -- political rivals, dissidents, critics," he said. "And in either event, the operation is a clear violation of the rule of law and international norms."
Demers said Chinese "repatriation squads" had entered the United States to "locate the alleged fugitives, and deploy intimidation and other tactics to force them back into China where they would face certain imprisonment or worse following illegitimate trials."
The Justice Department announcement comes at a time of rising tensions between the US and China over the coronavirus pandemic, which President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed on Beijing.