Chinese dissident Yan Xiong remains undeterred in his New York congressional run despite alleged attempts by an agent of the Chinese government to sabotage his campaign.
Xiong, a former student leader involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, is currently running as a Democrat in New York’s 1st congressional district. Granted asylum in the U.S., he is a military vet and has been an American citizen for 27 years.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the candidate was targeted by 59-year-old Qiming Lin, who is said to be an agent of the Chinese Ministry of State Security. He is among five alleged Chinese spies accused of stalking and harassing American-based Chinese critics of the Chinese government.
Lin, a retired member of the Chinese secret police, is accused of employing surveillance and planning possible smear campaigns, a “honey trap” and physical attacks against Xiong.
The indictment noted that Lin tried to sabotage Xiong’s campaign between September 2021 and March 2022 by hiring a private investigator to execute his plans.
“Create something,” Lin allegedly told the PI. “Go find a girl… or see how he goes for prostitution, take some photos, something of that nature.”
“Right now, we don’t want him to be elected,” Lin was quoted as saying.
Lin’s plans were uncovered after the private investigator recorded him on tape and revealed them to the FBI. Lin is believed to be in China.
Xiong has brushed off the attempted attack on his campaign, saying the plan would not have worked.
“That’s the stupidest thing,” he told Insider. “I’m not that kind of guy. It’s common sense. I am running for Congress, so they tried to trap me or make a scandal for me.”
According to Xiong, the uncovered plot, which campaign lawyer Aaron Foldenauer referred to as “foreign interference in our elections,” has only made him braver.
“Yan Xiong is going to continue to fight for the freedoms that all Americans enjoy and prays that everyone in the world will have those same freedoms,” Foldenauer said.