According to a report released on Monday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were reportedly seen socializing with “Harry” Lu Jianwang at a political event in a video, before he was arrested last week on federal charges for allegedly operating an illegal Chinese police station in New York City.
Fox News reported that the video, recorded on March 18, allegedly shows Lu conversing with Adams and Schumer at a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization called the Fukien American Association. The network claimed that Lu had previously been seen building relationships with prominent Democrats in New York City.
“In April 2022, Lu also met New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng at a fundraising event, according to The Daily Caller, citing images the outlet found,” the news outlet reported. “Records show that since 2006, Lu has contributed at least $32,625 to New York elected officials, including Adams and New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.”
A spokesperson for Mayor Adams stated that he does not personally know Lu, but confirmed that Adams had attended the Fukien American Association event.” The spokesperson clarified that Adams had attended the event to “show support for a local community,” and not to endorse the association itself, Breitbart News added.
The Daily Caller reported that Lu had met with Mayor Adams on several occasions before the fundraiser, including at “anniversary celebrations for the America Changle Association. This organization has been accused of being a front for the illegal Chinese police station, which was raided by the FBI in January.
The outlet also said that Lu donated $4,000 to Adams’ mayoral campaign under another name.
Lu’s arrest was one of the initial instances in a developing scandal concerning China’s clandestine operation of “police stations” on foreign territory. These stations are purported to gather intelligence on Chinese dissidents living overseas, and in some cases, they coordinate acts of intimidation against them. According to experts, China has established these stations in various countries worldwide, including Canada, Japan, Brazil, Spain, and the United States.
The Chinese government’s claim that the secret police stations were simply consular outreach services has been widely disputed. Evidence has confirmed that these stations were engaged in activities such as assisting Chinese citizens living overseas with tasks like obtaining foreign driver’s licenses.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) apprehended 61-year-old Lu and 59-year-old Chen Jinping in the Bronx and Manhattan for acting as unregistered agents of the Chinese government, particularly its Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Breitbart News reported.
The department criticized Lu and Chen’s conduct as a “blatant violation of our national sovereignty” and a disturbing illustration of China’s “transnational repression.” According to U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, the secret police station occupied an entire floor of an office building in Lower Manhattan.
“Now, just imagine the NYPD opening an undeclared secret police station in Beijing. It would be unthinkable,” Peace pointed out.
Lu and Chen faced allegations of orchestrating vast networks of fabricated social media profiles to distribute Chinese Communist Party propaganda and intimidate dissidents. Lu was specifically accused of employing “threats of violence” to compel a Chinese citizen to return to China and collaborating in the harassment of a “pro-democracy activist” residing in California.
Aside from the potential five-year prison sentence for acting as agents of the Chinese government, Lu and Chen could also face up to 20 years in jail for obstructing justice by erasing compromising messages from their mobile phones, the reports said.
According to Safeguard Defenders, the watchdog group that uncovered Lu and Chen’s activities in New York, China is running over a hundred secret police stations globally, including several more within the United States — and at least one more in New York City.
The group published a report in September revealing its findings.