China’s New York consulate is being used as a major hub for the Communist nation’s US espionage efforts, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told The Post after an NYPD cop was arrested and charged with spying for the Chinese government.
And it’s likely more diplomats and agents will be arrested, Pompeo told the paper in a sit-down Wednesday.
“They’re engaged in activities where they’re crossing the line from normal diplomacy to the kinds of things that would be more akin to what spies are doing,” Pompeo said, when pressed on the goings-on inside the consulate on the West Side Highway.
Pompeo’s remarks follow the arrest last week of an NYPD officer charged with serving as a secret agent for the Chinese government — a charge China has denied — and the US government’s decision to shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston in July, after two military assets there were charged with trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research.
“We closed it because they’re engaged in espionage and that is a legal term. It’s not just a spy novel term. It is a very data-driven, analytic, fact-based analysis that says, ‘No, this is espionage, it’s unlawful, and therefore, we’re going to send you back,’” he said on the flight back from Wisconsin on Wednesday.
During a speech to state lawmakers there, the former CIA director warned that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials were engaged in a full-scale propaganda operation at the state and city level and identified the Big Apple’s consulate as “very politically active.”
“CCP campaigns targeting state-level officials, and local interests, have been in full swing for years, and they’re increasing in intensity,” he said.
In February, a Chinese consul based in Chicago reached out to Wisconsin state Sen. Roger Roth, angling for him to pass a resolution praising China’s handling of the coronavirus — a request he called “nuts.”
In July, the State Department confirmed that Chinese consulates in more than two dozen US cities were aiding undercover Communist Party soldiers posing as students to engage in spying.
Chinese consulates in San Francisco and New York were also identified as hotbeds for espionage.
The facilities have long been accused of trying to steal trade secrets from nearby Silicon Valley or collecting information on the Big Apple’s Uighurs and Chinese dissident groups.
Pompeo told The Post these efforts could even extend to the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan and said the Trump administration was keeping a very close eye on the number of Chinese diplomats working in the United States.
“Remember, not only do we have Chinese consulates here, but there’s a UN facility, too,” the former Kansas congressman said.
“So if we’re talking about New York, we not only have the Chinese Consulate in New York — that is the bilateral consulate — they also have a large contingent of Chinese diplomats here for United Nations work,” he warned.
Chinese authorities denied charges that NYPD cop and Army reservist Baimadajie Angwang betrayed fellow Tibetans in New York by spying on them and passing the intel on to a Chinese government handler.
When asked if there are other cases like Angwang, Pompeo said: “Absolutely.”
“As you’ve seen, not just the case with the NYPD officer this past week, we’ve seen multiple cases being prosecuted by the Department of Justice and we’re confident that they will continue to pursue this and I would expect that there will be more to follow.”
The Chinese Consulate General in New York could not be immediately reached for comment.
The US government has been ramping up its rhetoric on China as the Communist country faces intense international scrutiny for covering up the origins of the coronavirus, stealing American intellectual property, and detaining minority groups such as the indigenous Uighurs.
Foreign influence in America’s higher education system has also been an increasing concern, sparking at least one congressional probe, which charges that Ivy League colleges are trying to keep their lucrative ties to China a secret.
In January, one Harvard professor was charged with lying about his dealings with Chinese research agencies that paid him at least $1.5 million.
More than $6.5 billion in foreign money has been disclosed by Harvard and Yale since being pressured to disclose the funds since last year.
By Ebony Bowden