China’s thought police are extending their reach

The Washington Post
Date: January 19, 2018 
By: John Pomfret

Chen Xiaoping, a New York-based editor at Chinese-language Mirror Media Group, talks about his wife, who he believes was kidnapped and is being held by Chinese security force, during an interview on Wednesday at his studio in New York. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)
On Jan. 14, a Chinese woman addressed her husband in a YouTube video. In the less-than-two-minute clip, Li Huaiping explains that she hasn’t contacted her husband since September because of “relationship issues” and asks him to stop writing her.

Li Huaiping’s video is hardly a marital spat gone viral. It might be part of an operation conducted by Chinese authorities to mute criticism of China across the world. While Russian meddling in the U.S. political system gets the lion’s share of the attention in the United States, China’s transnational operation to suppress free speech and influence international public opinion is equally significant, extending to Chinese American communities as well as to the mainstream U.S. media.

Li’s husband is Chen Xiaoping, an American citizen and the editor in chief of Huopai Mirror Media, a Chinese-language media outlet based in Great Neck, Long Island. Starting in January 2017, Chen began interviewing Chinese dissident billionaire Guo Wengui and airing his reports on Huopai’s YouTube channel. On Sept. 18, just hours before Chen was set to interview Guo for the sixth time in New York City, Chinese authorities grabbed his wife in Guangzhou, China, and kept her incommunicado for some 120 days — until Sunday, a day after Chen released a letter to the Chinese government pleading for information about his wife.    [FULL  STORY]