FBI Targets CCP Agents in ‘Operation Fox Hunt’ Program

October 31, 2020 Updated: November 4, 2020

The U.S. Department of Justice and FBI announced on Oct. 28 the prosecution of eight people involved in “Operation Fox Hunt,” a covert Chinese global operation. Five of them were arrested on the same day. This is the first prosecution against perpetrators involved in “Operation Fox Hunt,” a scheme to coerce Chinese nationals in the United States to return to China.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers revealed at a news conference on Wednesday that the Department of Justice filed criminal charges against eight individuals for acting as illegal agents of China. Five defendants were arrested on Oct. 28 in New Jersey, New York, and California. The remaining three are reportedly at large in China for the time being.

This is the first time that the United States has filed a lawsuit against individuals involved in “Operation Fox Hunt.” Although Chinese authorities claim it is an anti-corruption campaign to hunt down corrupt officials who have fled abroad, Demers pointed out that in many cases, the fugitives they target are opponents of Chinese Communist Party chairman Xi Jinping, such as political rivals, dissidents, and critics.

Regardless of whether the targets are real criminals or political opponents, “the operation is a clear violation of the rule of law and international norms,” Demers said.

Zhang Jian (U.S.-based China expert):

“The United States is not a haven for criminals. In the event a criminal involved in corruption in China escaped to the United States, the CCP can approach the U.S. judicial department by means of appropriate diplomatic procedures. Now, the participants of the so-called ‘Operation Fox Hunt’ program ended up being criminals in the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice is sending a clear message to the CCP that the special agents the CCP dispatched have affected the U.S. national security.”

Xue Chi (China Expert):

“This is because ‘Operation Fox Hunt” is a state action. When China launches such an action, it must discuss it with the United States, which is common sense. However, what the CCP has done is bypass the U.S. government, and the CCP is violating U.S. laws on U.S. soil. How can the United States tolerate such nonsense!”

Federal prosecutors alleged that the eight individuals acted under the direction of Chinese authorities to surveil, intimidate, and harass an unnamed New Jersey-based victim in order to force him to return to China. They affixed a note on the victim’s door that read: “If you are willing to go back to China and spend 10 years in prison, your wife and children will be alright and that will be the end of this matter!”

In April 2017, several defendants, with the help of unnamed Chinese officials, carried out a scheme to bring the New Jersey man’s elderly father to the United States from China for a surprise visit—in an effort to coerce the man into returning to China.

Zhang Jian (U.S.-based China expert):

“The CCP’s law enforcement method [in the United States] is just like taking China’s notorious Urban Law Enforcers abroad. The methods they use are the same set of methods used in China: intimidation, threats, stalking, harassment, and taking the victim’s family members as hostage to threaten the victim. The United States certainly should discipline them when they dare to flagrantly conduct such Red terrorist activities in a foreign country.”

According to the law, cross-national crime control involving the United States requires coordination between the foreign government and the U.S. government. Anyone acting on behalf of a foreign government in the United States must first register as a “foreign agent” with the U.S. Attorney General.

There is no extradition agreement between the United States and China. However, the two countries signed the “Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters” in 2000 and have previously had cooperation in the judicial field. So why did the “Operation Fox Hunt” program bypass the U.S. government, and why did the agents involved lie about the purpose of their trip to the United States when entering the country?

Xue Chi (China Expert):

“The CCP uses the banner ‘Operation Fox Hunt’ anti-corruption campaign to achieve its secretive goals. They want to crack down on certain individuals, and at the same time conceal their real motives. So they bypass the U.S. government and take action under this Fox Hunt program. The U.S. government won’t tolerate such behavior, especially when the China-U.S. relations are at a critical stage as Washington wants to clean up the CCP’s infiltration in the United States.”

The United States stepped up its crackdown on Chinese agents just before the presidential election, as the CCP’s infiltration and interference has become increasingly evident.

On Oct. 26, Newsweek magazine published an exclusive report, “600 U.S. Groups Linked to Chinese Communist Party Influence Effort with Ambition Beyond Election.”

On Oct. 28, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement, designating the National Association for China’s Peaceful Unification (NACPU), an organization controlled by the CCP’s United Front Work Department, as a foreign mission of the People’s Republic of China.