December 8, 2023

Ricketts on CCP’s Secret Spy Operations: “Flagrant Violation of Our Sovereignty”

December 8, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE), a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, reiterated his call for urgent and decisive action to address repeated violations of American sovereignty by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“Many Americans believe that the Chinese Communist Party is an external threat only,” said Senator Ricketts. “However, this hearing illustrates the long tentacles of authoritarian regimes like the CCP and that it knows no borders. This became obvious with the revelation that the CCP is operating secret police stations and overseas centers around the world, including here in the United States, to intimidate, threaten, and harass Chinese dissidents. While the case in New York is well known, there are reports that there could be others, including in my home state of Nebraska. This is a flagrant violation of our sovereignty and must be addressed swiftly and forcefully.”

Ricketts also shed light on how the CCP has adapted its tactics to illegally expand its influence and intelligence operations around the world, including in the United States.

“According to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, the CCP is running a global network of consular volunteers through its embassies and consulates who form part of the United Front Influence to enforce operations on foreign soil,” said Ricketts. “These consular volunteers are mostly used to help with administrative tasks linked to consular protection, risk assessments, and even warnings and advisories to overseas citizens and organizations. This gives them the full access to individuals’ personal information and may also enhance their control over overseas communities and dissenters. According to the report, none of these liaisons have been declared to host country authorities by the PRC or other relevant actors, let alone receive consent.”

Watch the video HERE.

In July, Ricketts and 9 Republican Senators demanded answers from the Department of Justice (DOJ) about what it was doing to combat CCP espionage centers.

Ricketts comments came during questioning of Christo Grozev, an Investigative Journalist, Michael Abramowitz, President of Freedom House, and Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, International Legal Counsel to Jimmy Lai, in a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The hearing was entitled “Transnational Repression: Authoritarians Targeting Dissenters Abroad.”