Three critics of China are at the center of a bomb-threat hoax plot thought to be the work of the Chinese government, according to an Axios investigation.
One of the targets is Bob Fu, the founder and president of ChinaAid, which describes itself as “an international nonprofit Christian human rights organization committed to promoting religious freedom and the rule of law in China.”
Fu experienced the oppressive nature of the Chinese Communist Party as a Christian living in China. Fu and his wife “were imprisoned for two months for ‘illegal evangelism’ in 1996,” according to his ChinaAid biography.
Since October, “anonymous perpetrators booked and paid for dozens of expensive rooms at luxury hotels in at least six countries—the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Hong Kong and Macau in China, and the U.S,” Axios reported.
Unknown perpetrators used the personal information of Su Yutong, a Radio Free Asia reporter living in Germany; Wang Jingyu, a U.S. resident living in the Netherlands; and Fu, who lives in the U.S., to book the hotel rooms without the three knowing, Axios reported.
“The perpetrators then called in at least 14 fake bomb threats to some of those hotels, falsely identifying themselves as these people, resulting in police investigations and even the brief detention of one of the activists, according to Axios interviews with Su, Wang, and Fu, and statements provided to Axios by police and hotel staff,” the outlet reported.
“What amazes me is that they use these tactics with such unscrupulousness in Germany, the United States, and other democracies as they do in China,” Su, who fled to Germany in 2010, told Axios. “When victims report crimes, democracies sometimes treat cases as ordinary cases of harassment, threats, and I hope democracies will link these cases to the [Chinese Communist Party’s] cross-border repression.”
“ChinaAid continues to stand by Bob and his fight for freedom in China,” Jonathan Dingler, communications director for ChinaAid, told The Daily Signal in an emailed statement. “We advise global leaders to take note of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to silence dissenting voices.”
The JW Marriott Essex House hotel in New York as well as a Houston hotel called Fu about the bomb threats made in his name, Axios reported.
“The only reason they want to use these tactics is to silence my voice,” Fu told the outlet Voice of America.
Fu noted that he was concerned about his safety and that of his family and “wanted the U.S. Justice Department to investigate,” Voice of America reported.
“I took a lot of comfort that they targeted me, in the sense that they target me because I must have done something really right,” Fu told Voice of America.
Bryan Burack, a senior policy adviser focusing on China and the Indo-Pacific at The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, weighed in on the story.
“These dangerous hoaxes are the result of years of failure to impose costs on the CCP for transnational repression and the silencing of dissent abroad,” Burack told The Daily Signal in a statement.
“From organizing anti-Tibet protests and harassing Uyghurs and Hong Kongers on U.S. soil, to silencing criticism of China on U.S. college campuses, to opening secret police stations in U.S. cities, the CCP has been engaged in malicious activities abroad for too long, with too few consequences,” Burack said. He added:
These bomb-threat hoaxes are yet another malevolent tactic deployed by the CCP. We have made some progress in raising awareness about these tactics and getting federal authorities and law enforcement to focus on the threat, but as the bomb-threat hoaxes show, there’s a lot more work to be done.
Law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Macau and Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Germany are investigating the fake bomb threats, Axios reported.
“Any form of foreign interference is utterly unacceptable,” the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Axios. “Every person in the Netherlands should be safe and feel safe, free from intimidation from regimes abroad. In case there are signs of unwanted interference, we will bring this up very firmly in bilateral contacts, and take action where necessary.”
WATCH: “Bob Fu’s Story”
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