Andrew Thornebrooke | Epoch Times
A U.S. Olympic figure skater and her father were among those targeted in an alleged conspiracy by secret agents of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to silence dissidents abroad, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Olympic figure skater Alysa Liu and her father, Arthur Liu, were allegedly targeted in the CCP’s effort to stalk and intimidate critics of the regime living in the United States.
The FBI informed the elder Liu last year that he and his then-16-year-old daughter Alysa, who was preparing for the 2022 Winter Olympics, were being targeted by the CCP. The elder Liu said he didn’t tell his daughter because he worried that it would frighten her, AP reported.
Arthur Liu was a political refugee who fled China following his involvement in the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989, which was violently suppressed by the CCP military, resulting in an estimated thousands of protestors being killed. He settled in the United States, earned his law degree, and raised his daughter.
His connection to the events of Tiananmen in 1989 was also shared by Yan Xiong, a congressional hopeful in New York City, whom the CCP’s secret police also allegedly conspired to slander and physically injure.
The revelation of Liu’s identity follows the unsealing of three criminal cases by the Department of Justice (DOJ) accusing five men of acting as agents for the Chinese regime and engaging in expansive attempts to suppress dissident voices in America through harassment, stalking, intimidation, and violence.
“These cases expose attempts by the government of the People’s Republic of China [PRC] to suppress dissenting voices within the United States,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen said during a March 16 press conference, referring to the Chinese regime’s official name.
“They demonstrate how the PRC seeks to stalk, intimidate, and silence those who oppose them.”
The DOJ described the cases as part of the Chinese communist regime’s campaign of “transnational repression.”
The unveiling of the cases follows a month behind the Biden administration’s decision to terminate the Trump-era “China Initiative,” a DOJ program aimed at combating CCP espionage, and less than a week after one military leader accused the CCP of spreading authoritarianism abroad.
The elder Liu told AP that a man called him in November claiming to be an official with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. The man demanded the Lius’ passport numbers, but Liu refused to provide them.
The man who called was allegedly Matthew Ziburis, a U.S. citizen whom prosecutors say was hired to conduct surveillance on the family. Ziburis also is accused of destroying a statue created by a pro-democracy Chinese artist and installing tracking devices on dissidents’ cars in the United States for the CCP. Ziburis was arrested on March 17 on charges including conspiring to commit interstate harassment and criminal use of a means of identification; he was released on a $500,000 bond.
After the incident, Liu said he received assurances from the State Department and U.S. Olympic Committee that his daughter would be protected while competing in the recent Beijing Winter Olympics. They said she would have at least two people escorting her during the event, AP reported. The figure skater ultimately competed and placed seventh in the women’s event.
Alysa Liu told her father that she was approached by a stranger one night while in Beijing for the Olympics, and that the man followed her and asked her to come to his apartment.
“I’ve kind of accepted my life to be like this because of what I chose to do in 1989, to speak up against the government,” the elder Liu said, according to AP. “And I know the Chinese government will extend their long hands into any corner in the world.
“I’m not going to let them win, to stop me, to silence me from expressing my opinions anywhere.”