CHINA WATCHFive Men Indicted for Helping China Silence PRC Critics Residing in the U.S.

Published 8 July 2022

Five men, including one current and one former DHS employees, were indicted on 7 July for being part of a network helping the government of China harass and silence U.S. residents who were critical of the Chinese government and its policies. The two leaders of the network are from Long Island – one from Oyster Bay, the other from Jericho.

A federal grand jury in Brooklyn returned a superseding indictment on Wednesday, 7 July, charging five defendants, including one current federal law enforcement officer and one retired federal law enforcement officer, with various crimes pertaining to a transnational repression scheme orchestrated on behalf of the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The defendants — Fan “Frank” Liu, 62, of Jericho, New York; Matthew Ziburis, 49, of Oyster Bay, New York; and Qiang “Jason” Sun, 40, of the PRC — were charged in March 2022 with carrying out what the U.S. Department of Justice described as a “transnational repression scheme” which targeted U.S. residents whose political views and actions are disfavored by the PRC government.

Among other items, these defendants allegedly plotted to destroy the artwork of a PRC national residing in Los Angeles, who was critical of the PRC government and planted surveillance equipment in the artist’s workplace and car to spy on him from the PRC.

Liu and Ziburis were arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint in March 2022, while Sun remains at large.

The superseding indictment adds two new defendants, Craig Miller and Derrick Taylor, to the scheme. Miller is a 15-year employee of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), currently assigned as a deportation officer to DHS’s Emergency Relief Operations in Minneapolis. Taylor is a retired DHS law enforcement agent who presently works as a private investigator in Irvine, California.

Miller and Taylor are charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence after they were approached by FBI agents and asked about their procurement and dissemination of sensitive and confidential information from a restricted federal law enforcement database regarding U.S.-based dissidents from the PRC. Both Miller and Taylor were arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint in June 2022.

“We will defend the rights of people in the United States to engage in free speech and political expression, including views the PRC government wants to silence,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olsen. “As charged, these individuals aided agents of a foreign government in seeking to suppress dissenting voices who have taken refuge here. The defendants include two sworn law enforcement officers who chose to forsake their oaths and violate the law. This indictment is the next step in holding all of these defendants responsible for their crimes.”