State Watch

US figure skater Alysa Liu, father targeted by spy operation ordered by Chinese government

Associated Press/David J. Phillip

U.S. figure skater Alysa Liu and her father, Arthur Liu, were among the targets of a spy operation that the Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges was ordered by the Chinese government. 

In an interview with The Associated Press published Thursday, Arthur Liu said that federal prosecutors contacted him last October, warning of a Chinese government spying scheme as his daughter was prepping for the Beijing Olympics. 

Liu noted that he didn’t want to tell his daughter about the issue so as not to distract her from the competition. 

“We believed Alysa had a very good chance of making the Olympic Team and truly were very scared,” Liu said.

Liu, a political refugee, said that he took a stand against China’s bullying by allowing his daughter to compete at the event, with assurances from the State Department and U.S. Olympic Committee that she would be kept safe during her time in China, according to the AP. 

Liu left China in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, in which he joined protests against the Chinese government, the AP noted. 

“This is her moment. This is her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games. I’m not going to let them stop her from going and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure she’s safe and I’m willing to make sacrifices so she can enjoy the moment,” Liu said.

“I’m not going to let them win — to stop me — to silence me from expressing my opinions anywhere.”

The DOJ announced Wednesday that it has charged five individuals they accused of stalking, harassing, and spying on U.S. residents on behalf of the Chinese government. 

Federal prosecutors allege that one of five individuals charged, Matthew Ziburis, was hired to perform surveillance on the Liu family, posing as a member of an international sports committee, asking for Liu’s and his daughter’s passport as part of a travel “preparedness check” related to COVID-19, according to the statement.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told the AP he was unaware of the specific allegations, but added China is “firmly opposed to the U.S. slandering by making an issue of this out of thin air.”

Tags 2022 Beijing Olympics Alysa Liu China U.S. Department of Justice

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