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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.

Go deeper

Sep 1, 2020 - World

China is censoring Hollywood's imagination

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's economic carrots and sticks are putting pressure on Hollywood to produce films that might soar in the country's box office — and avoid those that may displease Beijing.

The big picture: By censoring American blockbusters, Beijing believes it can prevent American and global audiences from imagining the Chinese Communist Party as a major threat, and from viewing the targets of China's repression as victims worthy of sympathy.

China is the greatest, growing threat to America

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

China has outlined strategies for 2018, 2025 and 2050 all designed to displace the United States as the dominant global economic and national security superpower.

Why it matters: While America dawdles and bickers, China is thinking long-term — and acting now, everywhere. There is no U.S. equivalent of a plan for 2025 or 2050 — or really for next year. 

Updated Jul 3, 2020 - World

The 53 countries supporting China's crackdown on Hong Kong

Note: The U.S. has been highly critical of China over the law, but withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council in 2018; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Dueling statements at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva shed light on geopolitical currents far beyond the walls of that institution.

Driving the news: China's Foreign Ministry and state media declared victory after 53 countries backed Beijing's new national security law for Hong Kong. Just 27 criticized the law, which imposes harsh penalties for vaguely defined political crimes and is widely viewed as the death knell for Hong Kong's autonomy.