The Department of Justice announced 44 individuals have been charged with various crimes for allegedly being involved in a scheme by the Chinese government to harass Chinese nationals living in the U.S.
Two of the individuals charged were arrested Monday for operating a Chinese police department in New York City.
In one case, the defendants are accused of trying to suppress the free speech of Chinese-Americans who spoke out against China.
"We aren't going to tolerate CCP (Chinese Communist Party) repression – its efforts to threaten, harass, and intimidate people – here in the United States," said Acting Assistant Director Kurt Ronnow of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. "The FBI will continue to confront the Chinese government's efforts to violate our laws and repress the rights and freedoms of people in our country."
The Department of Justice says many of the defendants worked with Beijing's Ministry of Public Security, and were assigned to a task force called the "912 Special Project Working Group."
"The complaint alleges how members of the group created thousands of fake online personas on social media sites, including Twitter, to target Chinese dissidents through online harassment and threats," said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Pokorny for the Eastern District of New York.
Most of the defendants live in China or other parts of the world and have not been arrested, officials said. However, the two individuals who were arrested reportedly had homes in New York City.