Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen delivers remarks at a press conference announcing the transnational crackdown charges | Takeover bid
Good afternoon. We are here to report three significant cases, unsealed today in the Eastern District of New York.
These cases reveal attempts by the government of the People’s Republic of China to suppress dissenting voices in the United States. They demonstrate how the PRC seeks to hunt down, intimidate and silence those who oppose it.
In discussing these cases, I would like to reiterate that the department remains focused on the actions of the PRC government and its agents – not the Chinese people or those of Chinese descent, who are often the victims of these crimes. Although separate issues, these three cases are all very much related.
One shows an insidious strategy of gathering information on dissidents in order to target them and, in some cases, imprison democracy advocates abroad. A case describes a plot to derail the candidacy for Congress of a US citizen and veteran, who was also a former student protester during the 1989 Tiananmen protest and later fled to the United States . And one shows a campaign of surveillance and harassment of an artist engaged in free and peaceful expression.
All three cases show that if you report such abuses, US law enforcement will respond and demonstrate that law enforcement was able to disrupt these plots and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Last month, when I announced the National Security Division’s new strategy for countering threats from nation states, I said that our approach would be driven by the greatest threats, including the alarming increase in transnational repression. This is an example of what I meant.
Authoritarian states around the world feel encouraged to go beyond their borders to intimidate or retaliate against individuals who dare to speak out against oppression and corruption.
For example, the Justice Department recently filed charges against people involved in the forced diversion of a commercial flight by Belarus to arrest and detain a Belarusian journalist and dissident. We prosecuted those who participated in Iranian plots targeting dissidents living here, including a plot to kidnap an Iranian-American activist in New York.
We have prosecuted agents from Russia and Egypt for illegally surveilling and targeting dissidents of these authoritarian regimes. And we have denounced attempts by the PRC and Saudi Arabia to deploy agents inside technology companies to obtain private information about critics and to obstruct the exercise of freedom of expression.
Today, we’re adding three more cases to that list.
For the Department of Justice, defending American institutions and values against these threats is a national security imperative. Transnational repression is part of the range of tactics employed by our adversaries in an attempt to undermine our democracy, our economy and our institutions. And it’s a threat not only to people in the United States, but also to people around the world who seek to exercise their basic rights to free speech and oppose authoritarianism.
This activity is contrary to core American values - we will not tolerate such repression here when it violates our laws. We will defend the rights of Americans and those who come to live, work and study in the United States. We will not allow any foreign government to deny them freedom of expression or the protection of our laws or to threaten their safety or that of their families.
Today’s cases, which U.S. Attorney Breon Peace will discuss in more detail in a moment, demonstrate that the Department of Justice will protect American democracy and ensure that everyone within our borders have access to equal justice under the rule of law and enjoy the protection of the United States. Constitution.
As I said, these alleged conspiracies are separate cases, and each will be prosecuted based on the facts and the law in federal court, and each of these defendants is presumed innocent unless or until he is proven guilty in court.
Authoritarian regimes seek to deprive people of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. These cases reflect America’s commitment to freedom and justice.
I will now give the floor to the United States Attorney who will present today’s charges.