AUnited States of America Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a page called “China Threat”. It frequently updates links to news about the bureau’s efforts to combat it.top of the list is FBIInvestigation of a Chinese balloon shot down by US fighter jets off the coast of South Carolina on February 4. But if you look closely, there are many other startling areas of Chinese subterfuge and surveillance. One of the most surprising is China’s pursuit of fugitives outside its borders. The scale of the global operation is now alarming — involving thousands of alleged wrongdoers — and its relations with the West are increasingly strained.
Police forces everywhere are trying to enlist the help of their counterparts in other countries to catch the fugitives. But China routinely evades formalities. Last October, Christopher Wray FBIThe director accused China of “interfering with our independent judiciary, violating our sovereignty and police codes of conduct, and conducting a lawless campaign of intimidation in our backyard”.since 2020 FBI Sixteen people, most of them Chinese nationals, have been charged with such activities. “We’ve seen the Chinese government resort to extortion, threats of violence, stalking and kidnapping. They’ve actually engaged with criminal organizations in the United States, offering them bounties to successfully bring their targets back to China,” Mr Wray said last year. express.
In many cases, FBI and other Western law enforcement agencies fear involvement in a technology China calls full sail, or “persuade to return”. It’s a euphemism for measures ranging from pressuring relatives in China to deploying thugs to threaten a suspect’s country.
Since Xi Jinping took over as Chinese leader in 2012, using full sail soared. There are two main reasons. The first is Xi Jinping’s war on corruption. That has prompted Chinese police to turn their attention overseas, where thousands of corrupt officials have fled. The second reason is expediency. It is much easier to intimidate suspects into getting them on a plane back to China than to seek police help in other countries.Western governments are increasingly alarmed by what they see as violations of sovereignty and abuses of people’s rights full sail often needed.
Launched by China in 2014, Operation Fox Hunt is a global effort to repatriate what it calls corrupt officials ( FBI Said many were also wanted for political reasons). It was expanded under the name Operation Sky Net in 2015 to cover those involved in financial crime. According to official reports, Skynet has captured more than 10,000 people. Not everyone was abroad at the time. Official figures are mixed, but a report by Xinhua, the government news agency, gives a breakdown for 2018. In a typical year, Skynet makes 1,335 arrests. Of these, more than 29 percent were apprehended at the border or within China (some fugitives returned to China under new identities). According to Xinhua News Agency, among overseas target groups, full sail Technology was used in more than half of the cases.
A report last year by Spain-based human rights group Safeguard Defenders said Chinese police had set up numerous “service stations” abroad and that alarm was growing louder in several Western countries. Chinese officials say their staff are volunteers from the Chinese community. Their stated role is to help Chinese expats discuss bureaucratic matters with Chinese police, such as renewing their Chinese driver’s licenses.But some of them have been involved full sail Action, Safeguard Defenders said (China has dismissed such reports as “malicious hype”). The governments of the Netherlands and Ireland have ordered the closure of offices allegedly linked to Chinese police. In November last year, Mr Wray said he was “very concerned” about the stations.one was raided in new york FBI.
2020 FBI The first indictment was filed against an American for crimes related to Fox Hunt. The indictment against them and others later arrested for similar crimes accused China of secretly sending government agents to the United States to conduct fox hunting. If substantiated, the allegations would show that these agents enjoy using various surrogates to do the dirty work of spying on, harassing and threatening fugitives. Those recruited to help may include private investigators, relatives and friends of targets, and Chinese expats keen to show their allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party.
For the past two years, China has been using full sail A technique targeting a new breed of Chinese criminals abroad: con artists who use the phone or the Internet to defraud Chinese people of their money. Far more people are being targeted than China’s anti-corruption police believe, and the methods used to ensure their return are far more brutal.
From April 2021 to July last year, some 230,000 people suspected of transnational cyber and telecommunications crimes were “educated and persuaded to return to China,” state media reported. First 9 months of 2021 full sail Ensuring the return of 54,000 people from northern Myanmar, a notorious cyber and telecommunications crime hotspot.
Police in some parts of China have threatened harsh measures against the families of those who stayed in or returned from blacklisted areas abroad but did not cooperate with investigations. In July, authorities in Wenchang City, Hainan Province, stated that the children of the suspects were not allowed to attend any type of school in the main city of Wenchang. The suspect’s spouse, parents and children will be deprived of health insurance benefits for major medical treatment. None of their immediate family members are allowed to work for the state. In many places, officials spray-painted the homes of relatives of suspects with words like “family of liars.”
In Donghai County on China’s east coast, local police have given leniency to suspects who have returned in the coming days from the notorious fraud base country. They list Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Anyone returning from those countries after March 1 will face “severe penalties”. Penalties would include canceling household registration, which can make a person stateless, freezing bank accounts, and barring their children (if still in China) from expensive schools. Those who simply violate the immigration laws of any of these countries will also be hit. Tokai police apparently believe that simply being present in a designated country without the correct documentation is evidence of involvement in a transnational crime.
Unlike the US, most of these countries (plus Indonesia, which some Chinese governments call another fraud hotspot) have close ties to China, including its police force. But China is clearly not content to wait for them to shut down the scammers’ operations on their own. Internet and phone scams generate enormous public resentment in China — perhaps even more than corruption in everyday life. So local governments, prodded by Beijing, are scrambling to show their toughness with sweeping sanctions against family members of domestic suspects.
Even in China, there are voices of dissatisfaction full sail Methods occasionally surface. Comments circulating online said the punishment for relatives was “joint guilt”. Some Chinese legal experts have questioned the way the police provide leniency to returnees: How could they pre-empt a court decision?why would full sail What differentiates the targets from those who turned themselves in to the Chinese police without fleeing abroad? In a 2021 paper, two Jilin University academics warned that pressure on the police to successfully repatriate fugitives could easily lead to the use of “inappropriate” tactics, including “threats and intimidation” against suspects and pressure on their relatives . Such behavior, they wrote, affected China’s “image of the rule of law” abroad.
However, China is unlikely to try a different approach. No other product can achieve results like this. Growing distrust of China in the West is dimming prospects for better cooperation. As a senior U.S. law enforcement official put it in 2020, Chinese fox hunters are becoming prey. ■
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