Chinese agents accused of spying on Beijing critics in US

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In the case involving the congressional candidate, prosecutors said Qiming Lin – identified in court documents as a member of China’s China-based security apparatus – attempted to gather damaging information about a naturalized US citizen who had been a student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

The candidate was not named in the complaint, but fits the description of Yan Xiong, who last fall announced his candidacy for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Long Island. A person familiar with the cases confirmed Mr. Yan’s identity. Mr. Yan served in the US military and participated in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors say Mr. Lin hired a private investigator last fall to dig up — or failing that, fabricate — compromising information about Mr. Yan, such as an affair or unpaid taxes, ahead of the June primary.

The private investigator, however, was an FBI source and, according to the complaint, kept authorities informed of the efforts. In a voicemail quoted in the complaint, Mr. Lin suggested that the investigator physically attack Mr. Yan, saying, “Beat him until he can’t run for office.”

In an interview, Mr Yan said he was unaware of any effort to discredit him, adding, “I appreciate the prosecutors trying to protect me.”

Mr. Lin remains at large, authorities said. He faces two counts related to conspiracy to commit interstate harassment.

In another case, prosecutors accused Shujun Wang – a Queens-based scholar and naturalized US citizen – of working secretly for at least 15 years under the direction and control of Chinese state security agents. . Prosecutors said Wang worked as a mole for a pro-democracy organization he helped found to promote the work of reformist former members of the Chinese Communist Party.

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