US arrests Chinese fugitive who took refuge in San Francisco consulate

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A Chinese fugitive who took safe harbor in China’s consulate in San Francisco is in the custody of law enforcement, a senior Justice Department official said Friday, and will appear before a federal court later on Friday. 

The official did not say how law enforcement apprehended the fugitive, Juan Tang, and did not address whether she was turned over by the consulate.

Tang, along with three other Chinese citizens who are in custody, are charged with visa fraud in connection to a scheme to lie about their status as members of the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army, while in the United States conducting research, the Justice Department said in an statement on Thursday. 

Tang’s arrest from the consulate follows the U.S. order to close the Chinese consulate in Houston for what American officials say was a coordinated campaign of spying and intellectual property theft. 

China has called the closing of the consulate a “political provocation” and said charges of espionage are slander. They have retaliated by closing the U.S. consulate in Chengdu.

U.S. and Chinese relations are at one of their lowest points in decades following a series of actions taken by the Trump administration that they say are meant to hold China accountable for antagonizing behavior. 

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