Chinese consulates in New York, San Francisco identified as spy centers

Last week, the United States ordered the closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston, accusing Chinese diplomats of turning the facility into an illegal spy center. However, according to a report this week, the San Francisco and New York consulates are the central locations for Chinese espionage operations in the United States.

The order was made to “protect American intellectual property and the private information of Americans,” said a spokesman for the United States National Security Council at the time.

However, the problem is that the Houston, Texas-based consulate is not the main spy center for the communist nation.

The Chinese Communist Party operates two critical spying points, its consulates in San Francisco and New York.

“San Francisco is the real gem, but the United States will not shut it down,” a former US intelligence official told Axios this week.

The probability of either of those two consulates closing is less than that of Houston, of which the Trump administration appears to be giving an example.

China has long been accused of using its embassy and consulates for questionable purposes, such as gathering information on Uyghurs and Chinese dissident groups and exercising control over Chinese students.

As a president of the Chinese Student and Academic Associations (CSSA) told Foreign Policy magazine in 2018, “I feel like the trend is for the consulate to try to control CSSA more and more.”

The embassy and consulates, according to Axios, have paid students to participate in demonstrations to visit Chinese leaders, in addition to asking CSSA presidents to conduct study sessions on party thinking and send photos to the government. to “ensure compliance”.

San Francisco has long been the more prominent of the two consulates regarding espionage.

According to Politico, foreign intelligence operations in the Bay Area have focused their attention on collecting trade secrets and technology from the nearby Silicon Valley.

“It is a very subtle form of intelligence gathering that is more connected and business-oriented,” an intelligence official told the store in 2018.

The source added that spies “are a big part of the everyday environment” in the region.

In addition to gathering technology secrets, Chinese officials have also long focused on gathering information on America’s internal political affairs.

In 2018, Politico reported at the time, a well-placed employee at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office in California was recruited by the Chinese government to report on American policy.

Feinstein (D-Calif.) Employed the Chinese spy for nearly two decades as his driver, a gofer in his office, and a liaison with the Asian American community, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reported at the time.

The newspaper reported that the man even attended the Chinese consulate functions for the California senator.

A Feinstein spokesman said at the time that his office does not comment on personnel matters.