The United States has charged four Chinese citizens with fraudulent allegations about its members in China.
Three were arrested while the FBI wanted to arrest a fourth, allegedly a San Francisco immigrant.
FBI agents also interviewed people in 25 U.S. cities with “secret links” with the Chinese military.
Prosecutors say it is part of China’s plan to send military science to the US.
Members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have applied for research visas while concealing their “real relationship” with the military, US Justice Department spokesman John C Demers said in a press statement.
“This is part of China’s Communist strategy to seize the opportunity of our open society and exploit educational institutions.”
The arrests came after the US announced a Chinese scientist asylum seeker at a San Francisco residence, and the same day when US officials ordered the closure of a Chinese summit in Houston, he said it was involved in intellectual property theft.
On Thursday – before their arrests were announced – Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin described the US allegations as “a stubborn slanderer” and said China “must act responsibly and protect its legal rights”.
U.S. President Donald Trump has been at loggerheads with China in recent months, over trade, the coronavirus epidemic and Hong Kong’s new security law.
Hours later it was announced that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had fired China’s new “collector”.
Speaking in the library of President Richard Nixon in California, Mr. Pompeo urged all “leaders of all races” to stand up and go to China, adding that liberation from the Communist Party in China “is the work of our time”.
What are the charges?
The four people charged with visa fraud are Wang Xin, Sing Chen Chen, Zhao Kaikai and Tang Juan. Ms Tang is thought to be in the state of San Francisco.
All Chinese are said to be lying about their service to the PLA, or to say that they have never worked in the military or no longer work.
Wang Xin was arrested on June 7 after being questioned by Customs and Border Protection representatives at Los Angeles International Airport. He has stated that he remains a member of the PLA, and works in a military military lab, the Justice Department said, after stating in his visa that he had left the military in 2016.
Song Chen and Zhao Kaikai are currently being held on July 18.
Prosecutors say Ms. Song said he was an orthopedic surgeon who left the armed forces but was in fact collaborating with PLA Air Force (PLAAF) hospitals in China, while Zhao Kaikai said he had never served in the military but was actually a member of the PLA’s top research institute.
Mr Tang is considered a member of the PLAAF. The agent found pictures of him wearing a military uniform and proof that he had worked at a medical university working in the occult.
He also wrote in his visa application that he had never been in the military.
The FBI also spoke to people in 25 U.S. cities who had secret links with Chinese military, the justice ministry said.
What happened at the Chinese convention?
The arrest comes two days after the Chinese embassy arrived in Houston.
The footwork showed people throwing what looked like paper in burning bins. Paramedics were called to the building but Houston police said they were not given access.
On Wednesday, officials gave China 72 hours to close the commission “to protect American property and American personal information”.
The lawyer is one of only five in the US, not to mention the ambassador to Washington. China has described the closure as “political offensive”.
What is the conflict between China and the US?
There are a number of flashpoints between Beijing and Washington. Some of the major problems are:
Coronavirus: President Trump has repeatedly stated in Covid-19 that t