UPDATED 4:25 PM PT – Friday, September 25, 2020
According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, espionage is “not just a spy novel term.” He made this remark while describing New York’s Chinese Consulate on Thursday.
Pompeo has said officials at the consulate are “engaging in activities crossing the line from normal diplomacy to the kinds of things more akin to what spies are doing.”
His comments came after one NYPD officer was arrested last week. The officer has been accused of acting as an intelligence agent for the Chinese government.
The FBI reported they have evidence 33-year-old Army veteran Baimadajie Angwang was working with other officials from the consulate, including his alleged “handler.” In exchange for money, Angwang reportedly delivered intel over the course of at least the last two years to consulate officials on other Tibetans living in New York.
Experts believe these efforts “show the Chinese Communist Party seeking to suppress dissent” against the country’s claim over Tibet, both in the territory and the United States.
According to officials, Angwang also offered Chinese officials access to senior NYPD brass through invitations to certain police department events. One photo reportedly showed him sitting next to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Communist U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with Tibetan NYPD officer, Baimadajie Angwang, an agent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). https://t.co/c415DB5765 pic.twitter.com/7UhTl7gSbC
— Jorge Bergoglio (@HereIsJorge) September 23, 2020
Angwang is currently facing up to 55 years in prison if convicted on the charges against him, which included illegally acting as an agent of a foreign government, wire fraud and making false statements.
In the meantime, China has thoroughly rejected these claims as “pure fabrication.”
Despite their denial, Secretary Pompeo confirmed China’s New York consulate has since been closed. He added more arrests of diplomats and agents from the country will likely be made in the near future.
He reiterated the administration will continue to crack down on suspected foreign agents and fight to protect “our wallets, our hearts, our minds and our freedoms.”
“For years, our diplomats couldn’t move around in Beijing, while Chinese diplomats ran free all across our country,” he stated. “Fairness, reciprocity, equality, that’s how diplomats will be treated in the Trump administration.”