The United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which functions as a Chinese intelligence operation, is concealed in seven cities across the United States.
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A Chinese intelligence agency quietly operates “service centers” in seven American cities, all of which have had contact with Beijing’s national police authority, according to state media reports and government records reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) United Front Work Department (UFWD) — which at least one U.S. government commission has characterized as a “Chinese intelligence service” — operates so-called “Overseas Chinese Service Centers” (OCSCs) that are housed within various U.S.-based nonprofits. OCSCs were ostensibly set up to promote Chinese culture and assist Chinese citizens living abroad, according to Chinese government records.
State media reports, Chinese government records and social media posts show that during a 2018 trip to China, U.S.-based OCSC representatives met with Ministry of Public Security (MPS) officials. During the meeting, state security officials demonstrated how they’re leveraging new technology to conduct “cross-border remote justice services” overseas.
MPS is China’s national police authority and has been referred to as “China’s FBI” by China experts. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) says MPS also conducts covert “intelligence and national security operations far beyond China’s borders,” including “illicit, transnational repression schemes” on U.S. soil.
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In April 2023, the DOJ charged two men for allegedly opening a secret police station in New York on behalf of MPS in order to “monitor and intimidate dissidents” and others critical of China.
There’s no evidence U.S.-based service centers operate as, or house, secret police stations, and the DOJ has yet to mention these entities in any statements or legal filings. Nonetheless, OCSCs’ association with China’s United Front system and contact with MPS raised red flags for legal and intelligence experts.
“The national security threat is real,” Will Mackie, a career federal prosecutor and former trial attorney for the counterintelligence section of the DOJ’s National Security Division, told the DCNF.
“Simply put, we should know which foreign government agents — including ‘unofficial’ actors — are operating in our country for whatever reason,” Mackie said, adding that American nonprofits performing Chinese governmental duties is “inconsistent” with diplomatic protocol, if not “illegal.”
After an extensive review of Chinese government and state-run media reports, the DCNF identified OCSC branches in San Francisco, California; Houston, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; St. Paul, Minnesota; Salt Lake City, Utah; St. Louis, Missouri and Charlotte, North Carolina.
GOP lawmakers expressed serious concern over OCSCs operating within the U.S.
“These centers aren’t there to help people get a business license or help resolve a domestic dispute,” Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told the DCNF. “They’re here to pressure, to use coercion and to use malicious influence.”
Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn told the DCNF it was a “direct violation of our nation’s sovereignty” for the CCP to “set up shop on our soil to threaten, surveil and kidnap Chinese American citizens with a dissenting opinion.”
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