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US denounces Chinese Consulate in New York as a major spy hub

09:04 | 28/09/2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the New York Post that China’s New York consulate is being used as a major hub for the Communist nation’s US espionage efforts and it is likely more diplomats and agents will be arrested.

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“They’re engaged in activities where they’re crossing the line from normal diplomacy to the kinds of things that would be more akin to what spies are doing,” Pompeo said when pressed on the goings-on inside the consulate on the West Side Highway.

Pompeo’s remarks follow the arrest last week of an NYPD officer charged with serving as a secret agent for the Chinese government — a charge China has denied — and the US government’s decision to shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston in July, after two military assets there were charged with trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research.

“We closed it because they’re engaged in espionage and that is a legal term. It’s not just a spy novel term. It is a very data-driven, analytic, fact-based analysis that says, ‘No, this is espionage, it’s unlawful, and therefore, we’re going to send you back,'” he said on the flight back from Wisconsin on Wednesday.

During a speech to state lawmakers there, the former CIA director warned that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials were engaged in a full-scale propaganda operation at the state and city level and identified the Big Apple’s consulate as “very politically active.”

“CCP campaigns targeting state-level officials, and local interests, have been in full swing for years, and they’re increasing in intensity,” he said.

us denounces chinese consulate in new york as a major spy hub
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Photo: New York Post

In February, a Chinese consul based in Chicago reached out to Wisconsin state Sen. Roger Roth, angling for him to pass a resolution praising China’s handling of the coronavirus — a request he called “nuts.”

In July, the State Department confirmed that Chinese consulates in more than two dozen US cities were aiding undercover Communist Party soldiers posing as students to engage in spying.

Chinese consulates in San Francisco and New York were also identified as hotbeds for espionage.

The facilities have long been accused of trying to steal trade secrets from nearby Silicon Valley or collecting information on the Big Apple’s Uighurs and Chinese dissident groups.

us denounces chinese consulate in new york as a major spy hub

The Chinese Consulate in New York Photo: AFP/ Getty Images

Pompeo told The Post these efforts could even extend to the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan and said the Trump administration was keeping a very close eye on the number of Chinese diplomats working in the United States.

“Remember, not only do we have Chinese consulates here, but there’s a UN facility, too,” the former Kansas congressman said.

“So if we’re talking about New York, we not only have the Chinese Consulate in New York — that is the bilateral consulate — they also have a large contingent of Chinese diplomats here for United Nations work,” he warned.

China Denies Pompeo's Espionage Accusations

Wang Wenbin, a spokesman at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters of CaiXing Global during a press conference on Friday that "Pompeo's allegations concerning Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in the U.S. and their staff are purely malicious slanders."

"It hasn't been long since the US unilaterally provoked an incident by flagrantly closing China's consulate general in Houston, to which China has made legitimate and necessary responses," Wang said, "Now it is again slinging mud at China in an attempt to justify its wanton acts. This shows a guilty conscience trying to cover up the obvious."

us denounces chinese consulate in new york as a major spy hub
Wang Wenbin, a spokesman at the Chinese Foreign Ministry Photo: CaiXing Global

Wang urged the US to "immediately stop smearing Chinese diplomatic and consular missions and staff in the US, stop gathering vaporous rumors and provoking trouble." He added that "If one is looking for a record of misconducts, some US institutions in China and their staff won't disappoint them."

The US government has been ramping up its rhetoric on China as the Communist country faces intense international scrutiny for covering up the origins of the coronavirus, stealing American intellectual property, and detaining minority groups such as the indigenous Uighurs.

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