Cop accused of spying for China appears in Brooklyn Federal Court
An NYPD cop charged with spying on Tibetan independence supporters for the Chinese government was arrested and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann in Brooklyn Federal Court on Monday, but the Chinese government on Tuesday retorted that the charges are “a pure fabrication.”
Baimadajie Angwang, who is also a U.S. Army reservist, is himself a naturalized citizen from Tibet. He was charged with acting as an illegal agent of the People’s Republic of China as well as committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District in Brooklyn.
Angwang, according to the charges, is assigned to the NYPD’s Community Affairs Unit, where he serves as a liaison to the 111th Precinct in Eastern Queens. Allegedly, Angwang reported on the activities of Chinese citizens in the New York Metro area, assessed potential intelligence sources within the Tibetan community, and provided People’s Republic of China officials with access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official events.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also said that Angwang, as part of his involvement with the U.S. Army Reserve, maintained a secret-level security clearance. In 2009, he submitted a form electronically for a background investigation, but he lied by denying that he had contact with a foreign government or its consulate, the charges state.
Although there was no hard evidence that Angwang compromised national security or NYPD operations, he was considered “the definition of an insider threat,” William Sweeney, the head of the FBI’s New York office, said in a statement.
Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said, “The defendant allegedly violated his sworn oath to serve the New York City Community and defend the Constitution against all enemies by reporting to PRC government officials about the activities of Chinese citizens in New York and developing intelligence sources within the Tibetan community.”
However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Tuesday told the Associated Press that the indictment against Angwang was full of hedging terms such as “seems” and “possibly.” “The U.S. plot to discredit the Chinese Consulate and personnel in the United States will not succeed,” he declared.
An advocacy group, the International Campaign for Tibet, said in a statement that the arrest shows that the “Chinese Communist Party is engaged in malign operations to suppress dissent, not only in Tibet but any place in the world where Tibetans are free to express themselves.”
In the 1950s, Tibet and the Chinese government shared power in the region. However, Tibet was directly occupied by China after a failed nationalist revolt. Many Tibetans continue to see Chinese rule in the province as illegitimate.
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