Feds arrest Berklee student from China on charges he sent threatening social-media messages to another student supporting democracy there
A Chinese guitar player studying at Berklee was scheduled for an appearance in Boston federal court today on a charge of stalking for allegedly threatening the student who posted a poster calling for democracy in China, by saying he had reported that student's family to Chinese authorities and hoping the student would get stuck with a needle by an addict at South Bay and then eaten.
Xiaolei Wu, who began studying at Berklee last semester, with a particular interest in jazz, will now get an education in the US federal criminal system for the way he allegedly threatened the other student and tried to get other Chinese students at Berklee to join in a campaign of harassment over a couple days in October.
According to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the case, on Oct. 22, a Berklee student put up a poster in a window near Berklee supporting democracy in China - and posted a copy to his Instagram account, which Wu follows.
Individual 1 is a U.S. lawful permanent resident originally from the PRC, and has family members who still reside in the PRC.
That night, Wu posted a reaction in the Berklee Class of 2024 group on WeChat, a Chinese social-media network, the affidavit continues. In translation:
@[Individual 1] don’t you fucking post reactionary posters
Fucking tear [tore] all of them you bastard
You go to post them at Tian’anmen Square
Post more, I will chop your bastard hand(s) off
Let barklee [sic] bite your hand(s) off
Not killed by pandemic but about to be killed by Public Security
[image of law enforcement personnel]
Early the next morning, the affidavit states, Wu followed up with:
I already called the tipoff line in the country, the public security agency will go greet your family.
The agent explained:
Based on my training and experience, I believe that when WU said he had called the “tipoff line in the country,” and referenced the “public security agency,” he was referring to informing either the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) or the Ministry of State Security (MSS) in the PRC. MPS is a PRC government ministry responsible for public security/law enforcement, as well as counterintelligence and political security functions. MSS is a PRC government agency responsible for counterintelligence, foreign intelligence, and political security. Both agencies investigate political dissidents, including those who voice support for democracy. In addition, based on my investigation, I know that Berklee College interviewed WU about this message. WU admitted to sending the message, and said that the term "greet" was a reference to beginning an investigation into the political loyalty of Individual 1's family. In other words, I believe WU was informing Individual 1 that he had reported Individual 1's actions to either MPS or MSS, and that he believed either MPS or MSS agents would then visit Individual 1's family in the PRC to begin an investigation into their political loyalty. ...
Prosecutions in the PRC also rely heavily on confessions, many of which are believed to be obtained through torture, and criminal trials are frequently closed to the public. According to human rights agencies such as Freedom House, detention conditions in the PRC are harsh, with reports of inadequate food, regular beatings, and deprivation of medical care. Torture and other forms of coercion are also widely employed by PRC authorities to force political dissidents to recant their beliefs, and the CCP has historically used its security apparatus to repress overseas voices critical of its power, including by detaining and harassing dissidents' parents. As a result, a threat to report a person's anti-PRC activities (which would include voicing support for "democracy" and "freedom") to MPS or MSS – or a statement that such a report had been made – would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to that person. Furthermore, I know, based on my investigation, that WU admitted that he sent these messages with the intent to scare and cause fear to Individual 1.
The affidavit continues that in additional posts, Wu said he was looking for Indiviual 1's specific location - and urging anybody who did know it to "greet" Individual 1. Wu allegedly then concluded:
Let’s call a spade a spade, your family can spend money providing for your overseas studies, you f**king should be truly thankful. WTF You have no freedom?
He then wrote Individual 1 on the Berklee mail system, telling him he would be arrested on his return to China, but he's truly screwed because he would find no refuge in Boston's Chinatown or in Quincy:
In any case if you went to Chinatown, Quincy to post, you could be beaten to death by people of the chamber of commerce there, and by then no one would rescue you even if 911 was dialed. Those who follow you to kick up a fuss are all supporters of Hong Kong independence and Taiwan Independent, right? Then as a Chinese growing up in Mainland China, you are rather pathetic. No, I don't think you deserve to be a Chinese. You don't deserve to hold a red- cover passport. You should wash dishes for the capitalist dogs. Be careful that you get poked with a needle by a homeless person someday when you pass by south bay, then get eaten by someone.
He then allegedly posted Individual 1's e-mail address in the Class of 2024 group on WeChat and urged other posters to harass him.
Although the harassment allegedly occurred between two Massachusetts residents, federal law applies in part because Berklee e-mail accounts are hosted by Google, which is headquartered in California.
Based on my investigation and experience, I am aware that Google has no data centers located in Massachusetts, and therefore any email sent or received using the Berklee Email Account would have been stored in data centers located outside of Massachusetts.
If convicted, Wu faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
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I wonder if spying for the Chinese government is a violation of Wu's student visa.
Maybe an actual spy..
Maybe an actual spy… or maybe just the kind of pathetic, spineless toad that you always find cheering for the bully and licking the boots of the despot.
You might want to update the photo caption
Without reading the story, I assumed that "Wu" was Mayor Wu. (If the person's name was John Menino, I don't imagine you'd have put just that last name in the caption.)
P.S. This is a fascinating story!
First name added.
First name added.
So I guess anti-democracy,
pro-authoritarian clowns in China are just as awful as their American counterparts.
graduate students in sciences in Boston
have similar tension between the party hardliners and those who speak openly.
No, they are a lot worse.
Don’t whatabout this issue. The Chinese government is an evil, corrupt regime.
It's the opposite of whataboutery
which seeks to diminish the awfulness of one thing by pointing out that something else is also awful. MC Slim JB did not seek to diminish the awfulness of the Chinese regime; he was warning us about a faction in this country that seeks similar power, and would be equally awful if it attained it.
State control of media
When the government controls all of the media, most of the people become misinformed. If all we had was Fox News, Trump would be president for life. This kid has grown up hearing only the CCP's version of everything, and hasn't developed enough critical thinking skill to accept any other versions. Not excusing what he did; it's horrendous, and he should be prosecuted.
Sounds like this guy...
Was one episode away from driving a tank down Mass Ave as though it were Tiananmen Square...
I wonder how long has this guy been in the country, aside from only attending Berklee for a semester, that he already believes one can travel to Quincy, Mass., on the Red Line presumably and be "beaten to death by people of the chamber of commerce." Like are the members known for violence against pro-democracy activists or something? I know it's kind of a forgotten city with some rough areas but lethal beatings? At the chamber of commerce?
Quincy has a large Chinese-American population
And he presumably was making the same crack about them as he was about Chinatown, that the people there are very pro-Taiwan, pro-Hong Kong and so would want to harm the student as a mainlander.
The US Chamber of Commerce ...
Has had strong Republican ties for a long, long time, so perhaps this guy knows some MAGAt's?
"barklee" is the name of
"barklee" is the name of Berklee Police's dog.
The most outrageous part
The most outrageous part of the story is the FBI's absurd interstate-commerce argument about email being hosted at an out of state datacenter.
Wu's lawyer should move to dismiss arguing that the FBI cannot prove that any electrons from Wu's computer physically traveled from Massachusetts to California and back.
This is a state harassment crime, not a federal one.
I wonder who is going to pay for that. Public defender or PRC?
As for the electrons... that's just silly. And if that's the kind of silliness Wu's lawyer is going to engage in, then Wu doesn't have much hope of avoiding incarceration.
I hope he's not fragile.
Burying the lede
People are getting eaten in South Bay?
Something Something National
Something Something National Security Implications?
Like I get the federal overreach, but at the same time, allegedly communicating with a foreign intelligence service to provide compromising information about a US permanent resident seems to have at least a modicum of truth with it being related to National Security.
uh.. that's the most outrageous part of this story to you?
that says more about you than anything else.
He "will now get an education in the US federal criminal system"
I see what you did there - you threw that in because he's a foreigner and not from here!
BTW Where'd a superior native like yourself get his education in the US federal criminal system, NBC Thursdays?
I was thinking more that here's this jazz student who will suddenly be getting an education in the federal criminal system, but sure, if you do want to compare American and Chinese criminal jurisprudence, the FBI agent's affidavit has a fairly long description of the Chinese system.
Yeah, I have no first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of the federal criminal system, but then, that's because, I admit it, I'm not a lawyer. And I've never been arrested for anything. I've probably attended or watched more court proceedings than most people, such is the nature of my job, but no, don't ask me for legal advice.
He will most likely serve time (no parole in the Federal system) and then will be deported.
This Xiaolei Wu sounds like a real piece of shit.
This could get nastier...
Did this PRC informant register with the DOJ as an Agent of Foreign Principals?
Is China holding any Americans we can trade him for.
He has an exemption under FARA:
"Although FARA covers a broad array of activities, some activities are exempt from its registration requirements. Under FARA, individuals and entities engaged in “bona fide religious, scholastic, academic, or scientific” activities or the fine arts and those “not serving a predominantly foreign interest” are exempt."
So that just makes him a regular fuckoid git.
"You should wash dishes for the capitalist dogs"
At least that would be a voluntary free market labor transaction.
THIS is precisely what I'm talking about when I say "It's not an immigration problem, it's an emigration problem." Who's genius idea was it to hand lawful permanent resident status to this creep? Good luck getting him kicked back out, now that he's had rights conferred upon him.
End borders, because they're just a suggestion enforced (or not) on a whim anyway by the sociopaths in charge.
EDIT: I misread the legal docs, and thought the harasser was the one being referenced, not the victim. I stand by "end borders", though.
Individual 1 is a lawful permanent resident, originally from China. Individual 1 is the victim of the crimes allegedly committed against them by Wu. Wu is a citizen of China and only here on an F-1 student visa, based on the details in the affidavit.
I really can't read.
for the rights of a permanent resident shows that, indeed, you are struggling. Doubling down on your "end borders" line only reinforces that.
It hasn't been mentioned here yet, but Individual 1's poster is inspiring. We need more of that.
For acknowledging that you were mistaken. In these times, that is too rare.
Wu will likely never be able to visit this country again.