China’s Chilling Targeting of Christian Candidate in U.S.
Federal prosecutors unsealed charges on March 16 against five alleged agents of the People’s Republic of China for their involvement in “transnational repression” activities on U.S. soil. The FBI uncovered the targeting of Chinese nationals in New York City and elsewhere, including a Christian candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives who had been a leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.
Matthew G. Olsen, assistant attorney general for national security, announced the charges at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, DC. He said, “Transnational repression is part of the range of tactics our adversaries employ to try to undermine our democracy, our economy, and our institutions.”
“These cases expose attempts by the government of the People’s Republic of China to suppress dissenting voices within the United States. They demonstrate how the PRC seeks to stalk, intimidate, and silence those who oppose it,” he added.
Court documents accuse all five defendants of pursuing schemes against U.S residents of Chinese descent whose voices are perceived as troublesome to Beijing. One scheme involved a team spying and spreading disinformation about dissidents in New York, California, and Indiana. Another centered on a Queens-based scholar who used his position of respect within the Chinese diaspora and a pro-democracy organization to act as a mole for China’s secret police. He collected information about prominent human rights leaders, and DOJ indicates at least one Hong Kong activist was subsequently arrested by Chinese authorities.
And then there was the startling targeting of a Christian congressional candidate.
Federal agents allege Qiming Lin of China hired a private investigator to harass and disrupt the campaign of a Brooklyn resident. DOJ refers to this candidate only as “the Victim” but notes that he was a student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations that were brutally suppressed by Beijing. The victim then fled to the U.S. where he became an American citizen and served in the military.
The New York Times identified the candidate as Yan Xiong, who last year entered the Democratic primary race for a Long Island seat being vacated by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).
Yan was a student at Beijing University in 1989. Recalling the Tiananmen Square protests, he told a U.S. House committee in 2014, “As we approached, we saw the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) had tanks, vehicles, and troops moving into Tiananmen Square. Soldiers with helmets and AK47’s were randomly shooting at protestors as they chanted slogans and tried to hold their ground. My friend and I crept forward, the sound of bullets, shooting, crying, and tanks blended together.”
Yan spread the word about what was happening at the demonstration and was subsequently arrested by Chinese authorities. After two years in prison, a member of an underground church introduced Yan to Jesus, whom he accepted as Savior.
After witnessing his first Independence Day soon after his arrival in the U.S., Yan said, “I saw then the meaning of freedom – the freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom from fear that all Americans enjoy. Since the time of my baptism as a Christian, I also found the freedom that knowing God provides.”
Expressions like this continue to leave Yan, who became a U.S. Army chaplain and a veteran of the Iraq war, in Beijing’s crosshairs. DOJ states that Qiming Lin, an agent for China’s Ministry of State Security, originally hired a private investigator to gather information about Yan. He then asked the investigator — who was actually an FBI source — to find something damaging about Yan. If the investigator couldn’t find anything, Lin encouraged manufacturing something like a prostitution scandal. He also suggested the violence like beating or a “car accident” would be fine, too.
Lin told the FBI source, ““Whatever price is fine. As long as you can do it.” Chillingly, he also promised the private investigator that “we will have a lot more-more of this [work] in the future.”
Will you pray for voices for freedom, especially fellow Christians like Yan? May transnational repression schemes in the U.S. be uncovered and defeated by our law enforcement leaders.
Share your prayers for fearless Christian leaders and national security in the comments.
Partner with Us
Intercessors for America is the trusted resource for millions of people across the United States committed to praying for our nation. If you have benefited from IFA's resources and community, please consider joining us as a monthly support partner. As a 501(c)3 organization, it's through your support that all this possible.
Thanks for Praying!