By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 22: The Tibetan exile community has come out to condemn China as a Tibetan man who was a member of the New York Police Department was arrested on Monday for being an “intelligence asset” for China.
Baimadajie Angwang (Pema Dorjee Ngawang), 33, is charged with espionage, and accused of gathering information about New York city’s Tibetan community for the Chinese government. The NYPD officer who is a naturalised US citizen, worked for the police department’s community affairs unit. He is also a member of the US Army Reserve, working as a civil affairs specialist with security clearance of some degree.
Authorities said that he worked with his handlers from the Chinese consulate and has received “multiple substantial wire transfers from the PRC [People’s Republic of China]”, according to court papers. Court documents also say that he claimed to be tortured in China because of his ethnicity, however, the investigation allegedly revealed that both of his parents were members of the Chinese Communist Party and that he had travelled to Tibet on numerous occasions over the years.
New York City police commissioner Dermot Shea said the officer “violated every oath he took in this country. One to the United States, another to the US Army, and a third to this Police Department”. NYPD said he is suspended without pay at the moment. Ngawang has been ordered to be held without bail and could face 55 years in jail if convicted.
Dorjee Tseten, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet said that the Chinese agent’s main tasks were to advance China’s political agenda and to try to stop the Tibetan community from engaging in political activities for the cause of Tibetan freedom. He said, “Tibetans have long known the Chinese government is spying on our communities, even in a free country like the United States, and this incident shows the lengths to which Beijing would go to undermine the Free Tibet movement.
“That a Chinese spy targeting Tibetans could infiltrate the NYPD, and even the U.S. military, should be a wake-up call for all our leaders – at the federal, state and local level – about the alarming depth and reach of China’s espionage operations.”
Washington based Tibet advocacy group, International Campaigns for Tibet in a statement said the incident shows that “Chinese Communist Party is engaged in malign operations to suppress dissent, not only in Tibet … but any place in the world where Tibetans are free to express themselves.”