Five people charged with acting as Chinese government agents to spy on and harass U.S. residents critical of Beijing


Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have charged five people with acting on behalf of the Chinese secret police to stalk, spy on and harass U.S. residents critical of Beijing, officials announced Wednesday.

The defendants were charged in three separate cases brought by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York as part of the Justice Department’s new strategy to counter nation-state threats.

A major focus of the strategy is fighting transnational repression by authoritarian governments. Its launch last month coincided with the shutting down of a program known as the China Initiative, following controversy fueled by what officials said was a misperception that the department was targeting ethnic Chinese for prosecution. Justice Department officials stressed that prosecutors remained committed to cracking down on crimes such as espionage and cyberattacks, especially those directed by or benefiting foreign governments.