On April 17, 2023, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York accused 40 Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) officers and two Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) officials of participating in a Chinese state’s transnational repression campaign. It targeted American residents critical of the Chinese government. 34 MPS officers created fake social media accounts to intimidate and harass Chinese dissidents. They used the fake accounts to disseminate Chinese government propaganda and narratives. They also attempted to recruit US persons. With the help of a China-based employee, six MPS officers and two CAC officials also exploited a US telecommunications company to remove dissidents from the company’s platform. They notably disrupted a dissident’s videoconference commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre by posting threats against the participants via the company platform’s chat function. The China-based employee also helped the MPS and CAC agents identify all accounts associated with the dissident. All defendants are believed to reside in China but are operating worldwide.
Chinese security services track and harass US-based dissidents online