China Threatens to Take Americans Hostage Unless Chinese Spies Released
Chinese scientists arrested in United States for spying for Communist Party's military
China has threatened to start taking American nationals hostage unless the United States returns the research scientists who were arrested on U.S. soil for spying on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party's military.
The Chinese government demanded that the Department of Justice releases scientists accused of lying about working for the People's Liberation Army, sources reportedly told the Wall Street Journal.
According to the WSJ, people familiar with the matter revealed that the Chinese government officials have warned their American counterparts repeatedly.
The Communist Party has sent threats through multiple channels, including through the US Embassy, that Beijing will take drastic action if their demands are not met.
Kidnapping Americans would be retaliation for the arrests of several Chinese scientists on US soil this year.
The move is known as "hostage diplomacy."
At least four scientists have been detained and charged with visa fraud for allegedly lying to US immigration to gain access to working at notable US medical research universities all the while secretly working for the Chinese military, according to The Daily Mail.
China is demanding the DOJ drops the charges against them.
Sources said China first started warning America it would take US nationals residing in China hostage back in the summer.
On one occasion in June, China threatened to detain an American if the US didn't let research scientist Juan Tang return to China.
Tang was questioned by the FBI in June after a photo emerged online of her in PLA uniform.
She had claimed on her visa application she was never part of the Chinese military.
Tang was supposedly working at the University of California on cancer research.
Prosecutors later said they found Chinese military documents about research "related to antidotes for biological agents" on her electronic devices.
Tang holed up in China's San Francisco consulate for a month after being questioned by the FBI and China vowed retaliation if she wasn't permitted to leave and return to China, sources told the Journal.
When Tang left the consulate grounds in July the FBI arrested and charged her with visa fraud.
Tang has since been released on bail and her lawyer, Malcolm Segal denied China had interfered at all in her case.
"The Chinese government has played no role whatsoever in the case itself or in her defense, nor do I ever expect them to do so," he told the Journal.
At least three other researchers accused of lying about their ties to the Chinese military have also been charged on similar counts.
US officials are yet to confirm the reports of China's threats to detain US citizens.
However, the US State Department issued a travel advisory in September warning Americans that China carries out "arbitrary and wrongful detentions" including "to gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments."