A Massachusetts man has been charged with spying for China on accusations that he sent the Asian nation information on Chinese dissidents as well as other people and organizations in the Boston area.
According to federal prosecutors, Liang worked for Beijing from 2018 to at least 2022. During that time, he allegedly provided the People’s Republic of China with information on people and organizations in the Boston area, including photographs and other information on Chinese dissidents.
“It is alleged that Liang provided PRC government officials with information regarding members and leaders of Boston-area Chinese family associations and community organizations with pro-Taiwan leanings,” the Justice Department said.
Among those Liang is accused of sending the PRC information on is a person who allegedly sabotaged Chinese flags in Boston’s Chinatown in October of 2018.
Other information federal prosecutors said Liang gave to Beijing include a video of a dissident attending a pro-Hong Kong march in August of 2019 and photographs taken the next month of anti-China dissidents at the Boston Public Library.
The indictment charging Liang says he communicated with PRC government officials via telephone calls and social media application WeChat messages. In the court document, federal prosecutors state that he communicated with an officer of the PRC consulate in New York as well as other Chinese government employees.
Liang has specifically been charged with one count of acting as an agent of a foreign government without providing notification to the U.S. attorney general and one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government.
The charges come a month after the Justice Department announced three criminal complaints bringing charges against more than 40 people accused of working on behalf of China to suppress and harass dissidents living in the United States.
“We allege that Mr. Liang engaged in a series of acts on behalf of the PRC government, including providing information on Boston-area residents, organizations and dissidents to PRC government officials — potentially placing people at risk here in Massachusetts and abroad,” U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement.
“Attempts to repress constitutionally protected rights here in the United States will never be tolerated. Anyone who infringes upon those rights on American soil will be identified and held to account.”