The Justice Department announced charges Monday against six Chinese citizens, including five alleged spies, accused of working on behalf of the Chinese government to recruit US citizens as sources and undermine the federal prosecution against a major Chinese company.
According to charging documents, the Chinese telecommunications company was facing federal prosecution in Brooklyn, New York. Though the indictment does not name the company, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed to CNN that the company is Huawei.
The announcements highlights the department’s increased efforts to crack down on Chinese spies working on American soil to undermine the interests of the US government, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news conference Monday.
“As these cases demonstrate, the government of China sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the United States and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights,” Garland said. “They did not succeed.”
Two of the alleged spies, Gouchun He and Zheng Wan, were accused of interfering with a federal prosecution against global telecommunications company Huawei. The two have not been arrested.
They allegedly cultivated a relationship with a law enforcement official involved in the case beginning in 2017. He and Wang believed they had recruited the official as a Chinese asset, according to charging documents, but the US official was working as a “double agent” under FBI supervision, maintaining their allegiance to the US.
When the investigation into Huawei began, the two allegedly asked the official for information about witnesses, trial evidence, and new charges that could be levied against Huawei. In exchange, the US official was given thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry, prosecutors say.