Americans in recent weeks have been outraged by reports that China's regime has established a police station on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in Chinatown.
The New York Post last month reported that the IRS-blacklisted ChangLe Association NY Inc., which had failed to file required reports for three consecutive years and thereby lost tax-exempt status in May, still owns and operates a "service station" at 107 East Broadway.
The location houses the Fuzhou Police Overseas Chinese Affairs bureau. The bureau's stated purpose is to help China's nationals with Chinese-government identification cards and drivers' licenses.
Beijing reportedly has also used the station to track Chinese individuals of interest to the regime and, short-circuiting legal procedures, to persuade those Chinese to voluntarily return to China.
Whether handling routine services or hunting down individuals, the bureau has been engaged in activities violating American sovereignty. The U.S. and China do not have an extradition treaty.
"This is a disgrace," said Beau Dietl, the celebrity retired NYPD detective, to the Daily Caller News Foundation. "How in God's name could they openly have these communist police stations in our country?"
Unfortunately, there is no mystery as to why the Chinese regime felt it could get away with this on American soil.
China's boldness is the result of Presidents Obama, Trump and Biden — and perhaps those before them — knowing about improper and illegal activities in America of Chinese consular officials and Ministry of State Security agents but choosing not to expel or punish the perpetrators.
America's highest elected leaders, in short, have failed to enforce American law against China.
We begin on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party. During the afternoon of July 1 of last year, an armed security guard attached to the Chinese consulate in New York City caused facial injuries to Jane Stein, a Manhattan resident, as she was photographing a protest on the sidewalk outside the Chinese diplomatic outpost.
The incident — the guard shoved Stein's heavy camera into her face, causing swelling above her left eye — occurred on the sidewalk just outside the consulate, on the north side of 42nd Street.
The consulate guard, in short, was interfering with Americans, on sovereign U.S. territory, exercising First Amendment rights.
Although the FBI interviewed Stein about the assault, the Biden administration does not appear to have taken any action against either the guard or China's New York consulate.
The guard who assaulted Stein is seen in the photo below. The guard's gun is clearly visible in this image. Stein is the woman with the camera.
"For years we have held protests at the consulate and they just ignored us," said Maura Moynihan, the daughter of the late US Senator Daniel Moynihan, to Gatestone. "But now they are very bold because they know they can do as they like and the State Department won't do a damn thing."
American attitudes are, fortunately, stiffening, albeit late. For instance, on October 20, the Justice Department unsealed indictments of Quanzhong An, his daughter, and five other Chinese nationals for surveilling and harassing a U.S. resident and his son. Those charged were allegedly a part of Beijing's notorious Operation Fox Hunt, a long-running effort to force individuals back to China. Prior to the recent indictments, the U.S. government often let off Chinese agents with only a warning, sometimes because of intervention by the State Department. This has not been reported but is known among China-watchers.
Law enforcement is essential, but it is hardly an answer to China's massive campaigns against the United States. For instance, only two of the defendants indicted last month were apprehended. The remaining five are believed to be in China. There, they will likely remain beyond the reach of American justice.
One solution is to deny Chinese wrongdoers the safe havens they enjoy in America. China's principal safe havens are its embassy and consulates.
In July 2020, Mike Pompeo's State Department closed China's Houston consulate. According to then-spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, State ordered the closure of the facility "in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information." Those reasons, of course, could be used to close all China's consulates and its embassy as well. China in fact used the Houston location to house a People's Liberation Army intelligence unit that was fomenting violent Antifa and Black Lives Matter protests, in other words, working to overthrow the U.S. government.
It is now time to close the remaining consulates — in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco — and send home almost all the Washington, D.C. embassy staff.
China will retaliate by ordering reciprocal closures of America's four consulates in China — in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Wuhan — and embassy staff reductions.
Such actions will deny services to Americans and American businesses. Denial of consular services will be in America's interest, however. For personal safety, business, strategic, national security, and moral reasons, Americans should not be in China at this time. The end of such services will encourage Americans to do something they should be doing on their own: Leaving China.
One can argue that, as China's President Xi Jinping closes off Chinese society from the world, the U.S. needs its embassy and consulates in China more than China needs its diplomatic outposts in America. There is a measure of truth in that argument, but the U.S. should also be closing China's non-diplomatic presences — primarily banks and companies — to even out the situation.
China uses every point of contact to try to bring down America, and American institutions are now being overwhelmed by the onslaught. It may sound drastic to some, but the survival of freedom and democracy in America critically depends on getting the Chinese regime out of the U.S.
The best way to do that is to expel the military officers, spies, agents, provocateurs and criminals finding protection in China's diplomatic sites in the United States. Nothing else would better communicate resolve to Beijing than getting dangerous Chinese actors off American soil.
The Biden administration should of course be shutting down the Chinatown police station, as well.
Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China, a Gatestone Institute distinguished senior fellow, and a member of its Advisory Board.