back to article Five accused of trying to silence China critics in US

Five suspects were indicted in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday for alleged crimes related to a campaign to silence dissidents in the US who opposed the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Three of the individuals – Fan "Frank" Liu, Matthew Ziburis, and Qiang "Jason" Sun – were charged, along …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great that the corruption and incompetence at DHS is now a tool for Chinese intelegence

    This is why we need to take their toys away from them and stand them in the corner. Instead the DHS buy access to massive amounts of data on innocent US citizens, immigrants, and foreign nationals, without sufficient oversight or access controls, and in most cases without even the fig leaf of a warrant involved.

    If these idiots need access to this kind of data, they clearly aren't capable of managing it themselves. This spy ring was busted because one of them tried to bribe the wrong person, not because anyone was paying attention to the fact that they were profiling political dissidents that were later the targets of crimes. This campaign has been happening long enough and in the open enough that the US government needs to say and do lot more than just stand back as this case trickles through the courts.

    Chinese state backed foreign agents have been targeting, stalking, beating, and killing people on US soil here in California since at least the trump administration. Neither he nor Biden has seriously dealt with the issue, which may in fact include the mass shooting of a Taiwan linked church here. Instead of DHS targeting the Chinese nationals committing these crimes against people on US soil, we have DHS agents working FOR them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great that the corruption and incompetence at DHS is now a tool for Chinese intelegence

      "since at least" yes, over 25 years

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    FAIL

    Duhs

    The DHS needs to look busy after they completely failed to stop uprisings of white nationalists and conservative extremists fueled by hostile nations and domestic crazies. One of them was elected as PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and almost overthrew the government. On top of that, the US still has cheap drugs appearing out of nowhere that are causing an explosion of unsafe homeless camps.

    It's not the outcome everyone was looking for when the DHS began starving infrastructure projects of money and destroying the software industry with data access demands. Sure, they can claim that commercial airlines are safe, as if any nation would resort to such small and outdated tactics after what the world has witnessed.

  3. ICam

    I read all of them as a child...

    It's nice to hear they're rebooting this series of classic children's adventure novels to update them for modern times.

    1. Spazturtle

      Re: I read all of them as a child...

      Not sure I would describe the cold war as a classic children's adventure novel but I too am glad it is being rebooted.

  4. El Bard

    Double standards

    It is quite... peculiar, to say the least, that the DHS would go so (publicly) hard on individuals, while not even considering an investigation into a company such as Amazon, that has been actively supporting Chinese government propaganda.

    With statements like...

    An internal 2018 Amazon briefing document that describes the company's China business lays out a number of "Core Issues" the Seattle-based giant has faced in the country. Among them: "Ideological control and propaganda is the core of the toolkit for the communist party to achieve and maintain its success," the document notes. "We are not making judgement on whether it is right or wrong."

    https://www.reuters.com/world/china/amazon-partnered-with-china-propaganda-arm-win-beijings-favor-document-shows-2021-12-17/

    While even on amazon.com, a search for 'xi jin ping' returns only Chinese government sponsored books among the first results; books which, beside xi's "own" material, feature compelling titles such as: how Zhou Yong-Kang was purged: Ulterior motives behind the collaborative assassination attempts on president Xi Jin-Ping of China.

    I guess they have espoused the old saying 'kill a man you are murderer, kill many you are a conqueror' on all sides.

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Double standards

      If the DHS went after Amazon for any of that they would instantly be in court for breaching the first amendment. I'm going to assume you are not a US citizen because American pig-ignorance about their own constitution depresses me. (And no, I am not a US citizen. I'm English.)

      1. El Bard

        Re: Double standards

        The issue is more contentious than you suggest. A first amendment argument could be made by those whose reviews were deleted because critical of the xi book, less so by Amazon.

        It is very current that free speech for corporations is a very sensitive topic: https://www.theblaze.com/news/biden-official-would-reinterpret-labor-law-to-deprive-companies-of-established-free-speech-rights

        At the same time, it is not about the constitution, but about ranking algorithms, that is impartiality, transparency and anti-trust. as can be seen in recent news:

        https://tech.slashdot.org/story/22/07/04/198227/japanese-court-ruling-poised-to-make-big-tech-open-up-on-algorithms

        A more pertinent critique would have been that it would likely not be the DHS' job to perform such activities (despite the new disinfomation board).

        The point is where there is a will there is a way, especially in legal territory. In this case the will is missing, despite cases such as the also recent Mandiant report.

        1. fishman

          Re: Double standards

          "A first amendment argument could be made by those whose reviews were deleted because critical of the xi book, less so by Amazon."

          First amendment only applies to the US governments (federal, state, local) and not to companies.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Double standards

            First amendment only applies to the US governments (federal, state, local) and not to companies.

            Half correct. US courts have consistently held that the First also protects you against private action using the government against your enumerated rights, such as attempting to restrain speech through lawsuits, except in the specific provisions allowed by law such as slander and libel actions (which are admirably difficult to win in the US).

            So the First Amendment does not solely apply to the government, but also to any attempt to use government mechanisms.

            If Amazon decide to remove content from the Kindle edition of your book, they can do so with impunity (assuming no contractual requirements are breached). If they sue to get something removed from your book, then the First attaches.

        2. Robert Helpmann??
          Childcatcher

          Re: Double standards

          The issue is more contentious than you suggest. A first amendment argument could be made by those whose reviews were deleted because critical of the xi book, less so by Amazon.

          This wouldn't get very far as a free speech issue as Amazon's marketplace should not really be considered a public forum for a few reasons, not the least of which is that it is not the government implementing the restriction. Someone still might use it as a way to make a public point in other media, but a suit based on that alone would most likely be dismissed on the merits. Even given the possibilities brought up in the cited article, I doubt there would be much appetite among the Supremes to allow anything of that nature to stand longer than it takes to say "amicus brief".

    2. disgruntled yank

      Re: Double standards

      Did everyone miss the word "defendants" or maybe mistake it for "defenders"? The DHS guy and the ex-DHS guy are serious legal trouble.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Double standards

        And surely those are the only two bad apples in the DHS barrel. Everyone else connected with DHS can be trusted implicitly.

        1. stiine Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Double standards

          Fucking hilarious....

        2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Double standards

          "Everyone else connected with DHS can be trusted implicitly."

          I'm sure the Office of Personnel Management is right on the job conducting it's security background checks. [sarcasm intended]

          I'm glad that I missed that sh*tshow when they took over those intelligence duties. I mean the FBI was never staffed with rocket scientists. But they are looking like absolute geniuses in comparison.

  5. Denarius Silver badge

    old news

    Roman Praetorian Guard once "protected" the Roman Senate, became Emperors bodyguard and ended up selling the Emperors position to highest bidder. methinks the TLAs and associated spookeries are becoming similar institutions.Anything for sale for the right money

  6. Bitsminer Silver badge

    wait a minute....

    So these people are charged with unlawful surveillance, vandalism and arson, unauthorized use of law enforcement databases, conspiracy to libel or slander residents based on their beliefs......

    I image there are a couple hundred thousand American women with abusive ex-partners who are now holding up their hand and saying: "hey, what about those things that [redacted] asshold ex-husband of mine did...." What about them, Mr Federal Prosecutor?

    Double standard indeed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wait a minute....

      "Mr Federal Prosecutor" <-- what's the middle word there?

      You have confused your jurisdictions. Only if the abuse crosses state lines/jurisdictions does that enter the federal arena. Unfortunately the individual states vary in their attention to domestic violence.

      And "a couple hundred thousand American women"? You're at least one order of magnitude too low.

  7. msobkow Silver badge

    I just would like to see them put in gen-pop in an ordinary American prison, not some "club fed" luxury spa.

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