In a major operation that spread to more than 25 cities, the FBI interrogated Chinese citizens suspected of entering the country on visas that hide their connections to the Chinese regime’s military.

Assistant Attorney General for Homeland Security John C. Demers said in a Justice Department statement that he and the FBI are conducting an investigation to uncover members of the Chinese Liberation Army who are applying for visas as academic researchers while hiding their true affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The FBI questioned visa holders in more than 25 cities in the United States. The operation is part of the case investigating what appears to be the largest theft of information from the United States by the CCP since the Sino-US relationship was reconstituted in 1979.

“The United States welcomes students, academics, and researchers from across the globe. Today’s announcement shows the extreme lengths to which the Chinese government [the CCP] has gone to infiltrate and exploit America’s benevolence,” said John Brown, executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch. “In interviews with members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in over 25 cities across the U.S., the FBI uncovered a concerted effort to hide their true affiliation to take advantage of the United States and the American people.” 

Until July 23, three people were arrested, and a fourth person was on the run. According to the FBI in a judicial presentation, the fugitive was Tang Juan, a woman who had falsified her visa, and evidence shows her affiliation with the army and her participation as a doctor in the Air Force Medical University (UMFA) of the CCP. After a warrant was issued for her arrest, she went to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco and remained there in hiding to avoid arrest.

But as it turned out, authorities from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that Tang had been arrested, and she is now in U.S. custody in Sacramento.

All four are Chinese citizens who have been charged with visa fraud and if convicted, each will face a maximum legal penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The announcement will surely not be well received by the CCP with whom the United States is not having good relations, especially since the recent closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on Monday accused the Chinese Communist Party of attempting to hack into the computer security of American laboratories in order to steal information about the development of a vaccine to combat the CCP Virus.

Last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray said nearly half of the nearly 5,000 counterintelligence investigations the office conducts involve the Chinese Communist Party.