U.S. officials: Chinese secret agents in U.S. spikes

Story highlights

  • U.S. officials charged Wednesday that the increase suggests China lacks concern for U.S. laws
  • U.S. diplomats previously warned China to stop using covert law enforcement agents on U.S. soil

Washington (CNN)The number of Chinese government secret agents in the U.S. has spiked in the last several months and is now in the double digits, according to U.S. officials.

The agents are from the Ministry of Public Security, China's security service. U.S. officials charged Wednesday that the increase suggests China lacks concern for U.S. laws.
It would also not be surprising if there are Chinese law enforcement agents on the ground of whom the U.S. is not aware, officials said.
    The agents enter the U.S. on tourist and business visas and do not report their presence to U.S. authorities as required by law, according to U.S. authorities. Placing a law enforcement official here without notifying American authorities is criminal, they said.
    U.S. diplomats previously warned China to stop using covert law enforcement agents on U.S. soil. CNN reported that the agents pressure Chinese citizens to return to the country to face justice, often on corruption charges, United States officials confirmed to CNN. The agents have successfully coerced several Chinese nationals to return to China from the U.S., they said.
    China said Monday that they are not violating a legal cooperation treaty between the U.S. and China, but that their government was simply fighting corruption under a program called Fox Hunt 2015.
    "China's operation is legitimate and has been approved in bilateral agreements reached earlier this year," China said through Xinhua, its state news agency. " 'Fox Hunt 2015,' which targets corrupt officials of government departments and state-owned enterprises, is an important effort of China to crack down (on) corruption."