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China set spies after U.S. figure skater and her father: feds

A US Olympic determine skater and her Chinese language dissident father have been amongst these focused in the flowery spying scheme revealed by the Justice Division on Wednesday.

Arthur Liu, father to Olympian Alysa Liu, informed the Related Press late Wednesday that his household had been surveilled on the course of the Chinese language authorities proper earlier than his daughter was set to compete in final month’s Beijing Winter Olympics.

“We believed Alysa had a very good chance of making the Olympic team and truly were very scared,” he mentioned.

Liu is a former political refugee who fled China after participating within the 1989 Tiananmen Sq. Protests.

One of many 5 males who have been charged Wednesday with spying on Chinese language dissidents dwelling within the US, Matthew Ziburis, allegedly contacted Liu in November, impersonating a US Olympic & Paralympic Committee official and asking for his and his 16-year-old daughter’s passport numbers.

Alysa Liu
Arthur Liu, father of US Olympic determine skater Alysa Liu, says his household has been focused for surveillance by the Chinese language authorities.
AP

“I didn’t feel good about it. I felt something fishy was going on,” the daddy mentioned. “From my dealings with the U.S. Figure Skating association, they would never call me on the phone to get copies of our passports. I really cut it short once I realized what he was asking for.”

Liu didn’t present the knowledge to the spy and grew fearful for his daughter who was set to compete in Beijing, the place she finally got here in seventh place within the ladies’s occasions. He hid what was going from her so she wouldn’t be distracted, he informed the AP.

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

Alysa Liu
Arthur Liu says that one of many males arrested within the spying scheme had requested him for his daughter Alysa Liu’s passport numbers.
AP

He mentioned the State Division promised it could present Alysa with correct safety whereas she in China.

“They are probably just trying to intimidate us, to … in a way threaten us not to say anything, to cause trouble to them and say anything political or related to human rights violations in China,” Arthur Liu mentioned. “I had concerns about her safety. The US government did a good job protecting her.”

In accordance with the complained unsealed Wednesday, Ziburis allegedly traveled to California’s Bay Space the place the Liu household lives to surveil on them and attempt to coax non-public info from the household that he may then provide to the Chinese language authorities.

Ziburis was arrested Tuesday and is dealing with fees of conspiring to commit interstate harassment and prison use of a way of identification. He was launched on $500,000 of bail.

Liu mentioned his daughter had been approached by a stranger in the course of the Olympics, who adopted her and even requested to have her over at his condo.

“I’ve kind of accepted my life to be like this because of what I chose to do in 1989, to speak up against the government,” he mentioned. “And I do know the Chinese language authorities will prolong their lengthy fingers into any nook on the planet.

“I’m going to continue to enjoy life and live life as I want to live. I’m not going to let this push me down and I’m not going to let them succeed.”

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