The New York City Police Department logo. Photo: Alexandra Schuler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a New York City police officer with acting as an illegal agent of China and feeding information on ethnic Tibetans in New York City to the Chinese consulate, court documents show.

The big picture: China's Communist Party has for years responded with heavy-handed tactics against Tibetan calls for independence.

  • Beijing considers Tibet, an autonomous region, part of its historical empire.

Catch up quick: NYPD officer Baimadajie Angwang is accused of reporting the activities of ethnic Tibetans in New York City to China's local consulate.

  • Prosecutors said Angwang used his position to garner the consulate's access to senior police officials and events.
  • Angwang also faces counts of wire fraud, making false statements and obstruction.
  • He worked in the 111th precinct in Queens, per court documents, unsealed on Monday.

Flashback: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions in July for Chinese officials the Trump administration believed were restricting foreigners’ access to Tibet.

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