Chinese agents arrested for stalking and attempting to coerce Chinese dissidents into returning to China
11/03/2020 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in cooperation with the Department of Justice (DOJ), announced that five alleged agents of the People’s Republic of China were arrested. These five people were part of a campaign designed to “harass, stalk and coerce” Chinese political dissidents into returning to China.

John Demers, assistant United States attorney general for national security, said that the five individuals arrested were part of an international Chinese program known as “Operation Fox Hunt,” which is described by official Chinese documents and press releases as an anti-corruption campaign.

However, Demers insists that many of the people hunted down under Operation Fox Hunt are Chinese dissidents and political and personal opponents of Chinese Communist Party Chairman and President of China Xi Jinping.

The five people were arrested in three different states – two in New York, two in California and one in New Jersey. They are being charged with conspiracy to act in the United States as “illegal agents of the People’s Republic of China” and for conspiring to commit interstate and international stalking. If found guilty on both charges, they can face up to 10 years in prison.

“The United States will not tolerate the conduct of PRC official business on U.S. soil without notice to and coordination with the appropriate U.S. authorities. Nor will we tolerate the unlawful harassment and stalking of U.S. residents to further PRC objectives,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Seth DuCharme.


“It’s outrageous to think that China thinks it can come to our shores, conduct illegal operations and bend people here in the United States to their will,” said Christopher Wray, director of the FBI. (Related: “Return to China or commit suicide:” FBI Director says China’s “Fox Hunt” program a way to silence and imprison Chinese dissidents abroad.)

Chinese agents used a whole host of illegal tactics to coerce Chinese dissidents to return to the mainland

The five people arrested included Hongru Jin, 30; Zhu Yong, 53; Michael McMahon, 53; Rong Jing, 38; and Zheng Congying, 24. Three of their co-conspirators, Zhu Feng, 64; Hu Ji, 45 and Li Minjun, 64, are still at large. Of the eight people, only McMahon was born in the United States. Hongru Jin is a naturalized citizen, and Zhu Yong, Rong Jing and Zheng Congying are permanent residents.

McMahon, a former New York City police officer who was now working as a private detective and as the head of McMahon Investigative Group, was allegedly hired by the Chinese nationals to provide the agents with private travel and banking information regarding their targets.

According to court documents, one of the main incidents that brought the five criminals to justice was during their attempt to force a man living in New Jersey – known only as John Doe 1 – to return to China to face alleged violations of Chinese law.

Due to security concerns, FBI and DOJ officials declined to elaborate on the identity of John Doe 1. However, they were able to say that he has been living in New Jersey with his wife since September 2010 and that he was previously employed as a local official at a city government somewhere in China.

John Doe 1 is allegedly wanted by the Chinese government for “embezzlement, abuse of power and acceptance of bribes.” His wife is also being sought for “accepting bribes.” Back in 2012, the Chinese government filed a notice with Interpol seeking John Doe 1’s arrest and extradition.

If convicted in China, John Doe faced the prospect of receiving the death penalty.

The Chinese agents surveilled him at his house in the evening using night vision goggles and left threatening notes at his door, including one that said: “If you are willing to go back to the Mainland and spend 10 years in prison, your wife and children will be alright. That’s the end of this matter!”

McMahon was enlisted to stalk John Doe 1’s daughter. The daughter was also harassed in the spaces she frequented on the internet.

At one point, the Chinese agents brought John Doe 1’s elderly father against his will to the U.S. They hoped that the “unannounced presence” will show John Doe 1 just how powerful they were. His relatives that were still living in China have also allegedly been harassed.

McMahon was later tasked with surveilling John Doe 1’s father. Court records show that he suggested that the Chinese agents should park their vehicle outside John Doe 1’s house in the evening to “let him know we are there.”

Later, a Chinese agent messaged McMahon, telling him that he will be generously rewarded, perhaps with a paid-for vacation, if John Doe 1 was successfully returned to China.

According to the criminal complaint, the seven Chinese agents and McMahon were aided by three unnamed Chinese officials who supported the agents in multiple ways, such as by directing the operation from China or traveling to the United States to direct the scheme from there.

“Today’s charges reflect yet another example of China’s ongoing and widespread lawless behavior,” said Wray, who also mentioned that the multi-year investigation against the eight Chinese agents began when victims of harassment, stalking and blackmail started coming forward to authorities, seeking their protection.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington has not responded to requests for comments.

Learn more about how Communist China is attempting to destabilize the United States for their own gain by reading the articles at

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