Hagerty, Blackburn, Colleagues Call for Inquiry Into Chinese Surveillance on American Soil

July 11, 2023

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), along with six other Senate Republican colleagues, in sending a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray and Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ) Matthew Olsen calling for an immediate inquiry into the issue of Chinese surveillance in the United States. 

The Chinese Communist Party has set up “service centers” that have reportedly coordinated with China’s national police agency in seven US cities. While these Overseas Chinese Service Centers are purportedly used to foster Chinese culture and help Chinese citizens living in the US, the centers’ relationship with Beijing’s Ministry of Public Security suggests they may be used as spy stations.

“Recent reporting indicates that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has secretly operated ‘service centers’ in seven cities across America— from San Francisco to Houston to Charlotte. Specifically, because of reporting from the Daily Caller, we have learned that the CCP has been utilizing ‘Overseas Chinese Service Centers’ (OCSCs) housed within American-based nonprofit organizations. These OCSCs—which were apparently established to ‘promote Chinese culture and assist Chinese citizens living abroad’— reportedly coordinated with China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the Chinese national police agency. The MPS also serves as an intelligence operative for the CCP, which is why these allegations are so troubling and merit immediate investigation,” the Senators wrote. 

“In April, the Department of Justice (DOJ) charged two New York City residents with operating an unauthorized MPS police outpost, which was ostensibly used to monitor and intimidate Chinese dissidents living in the United States. Just as troubling, in February, the U.S. Air Force shot down a Chinese spy balloon that had traveled through U.S. airspace for several days, an apparent act of provocation by the CCP,” the Senators continued.

“We have witnessed over the last few years China’s malign influence in the United States and around the world, underscoring why it is critical that these allegations outlined in the Daily Caller’s reporting be thoroughly investigated. Thus, we request that the FBI and DOJ immediately commence an inquiry into this matter,” the Senators concluded.

Additionally, the Senators requested a response to the following questions by July 17, 2023:

  1. Has your agency instituted an investigation into the allegations of OCSCs being stationed in the United States?
  2. If your agency has not instituted such investigation, do you commit to immediately commencing one?
  3. Do you agree that the intent of these OCSCs is to coerce and surveil Chinese American dissidents?
  4. Are you aware of any efforts by the CCP to expand these OCSCs into more cities throughout the United States?

A copy of the letter can be found here.