The US Department of Justice (DOJ), on October 24, announced charges against 10 alleged Chinese government spies and three additional Chinese citizens in three separate cases. One of the case included the matter in which two intelligence officers attempted to enlist a US double agent to impede the prosecution of tech company Huawei.

The extensive activity, as described by the DOJ, is a part of a pressure campaign against Chinese nationals living in the United States who have voiced their disagreement with the Chinese Communist Party. Attorney General Merrick Garland made the announcement as the United States continued its 2019 case against Huawei, which was expanded in 2020 to include charges of racketeering and intellectual property theft in addition to bank fraud.

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Garland, on October 24, said, “The defendants believed that they had recruited the U.S. employee as an asset, but in fact, the individual they recruited was actually a double agent, working on behalf of the FBI.”

Two suspects, paid an agent more than $60k in bitcoin for false information

Guochun He and Zheng Wang, two alleged Chinese spies, once paid the agent more than $60,000 in bitcoin for false information regarding the DOJ’s investigation. The two men haven’t been found yet. “They did so in the hope of obtaining the prosecution strategy memo, confidential information regarding witnesses, trial evidence, and potential new charges to be brought against the company,” Garland said.

The Attorney General further added, using the abbreviation for China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), “This was an egregious attempt by PRC intelligence officers to shield a PRC-based company from accountability and to undermine the integrity of our judicial system.”

In the other two instances, Chinese nationals were accused of participating in schemes to either bring back Chinese citizens who were living abroad or to enlist Americans to provide information to Beijing. Moreover, four Chinese nationals, including three intelligence officers from the Ministry of State Security, are accused in one case of participating in a protracted effort to find new agents for the Chinese government. Wang Lin, Bi Hongwei, Dong Ting, and Wang Qiang are accused of contacting university professors and law enforcement officials under the guise of the alleged Institute for International Studies.

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In one instance, they offered fully paid trips to China in 2008 and 2018 in exchange for assistance in suppressing protests along the path of the Olympic torch in 2008, which China deemed to be “embarrassing.” The DOJ has classified the operation as a “extralegal repatriation effort” and it was a part of a larger Chinese initiative called “Operation Fox Hunt.”