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Press Release

Massachusetts Man Indicted for Acting as an Illegal Agent of the People's Republic of China

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Liang allegedly reported to PRC officials on pro-democracy protesters and founded U.S. advocacy group to covertly advance the PRC’s agenda in Boston and surrounding areas

BOSTON – A Massachusetts man was arrested on May 9 for allegedly acting as an agent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) without providing notification to the U.S. Attorney General.

Litang Liang, 63, of Brighton, was indicted on one count of acting as an agent of a foreign government without providing notification to the U.S. Attorney General and one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without providing notification to the U.S. Attorney General.

According to the charging documents, from in or around 2018 through at least 2022, Liang acted within the United States as an agent of the PRC government by allegedly providing PRC government officials with information on Boston-area individuals and organizations; organizing a counter-protest against pro-democracy dissidents; providing photographs of and information about dissidents to PRC government officials; and providing the names of potential recruits to the PRC’s Ministry of Public Security. At no point did Liang notify the U.S. Attorney General that he was acting as a PRC government agent.

Specifically, beginning in or around 2018, Liang allegedly provided information about Chinese individuals and organizations in the Boston area to PRC government officials – including PRC officials formerly in the United States, the Ministry of Public Security, and the United Front Work Department, an entity which reports directly to the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and works to further the CCP’s goals.

It is alleged that Liang provided PRC government officials with information regarding members and leaders of Boston-area, Chinese family associations and community organizations with pro-Taiwan leanings. Additionally, it is alleged that Liang sent information regarding anti-PRC dissidents to PRC officials including: identification of an individual he accused of having “sabotaged” PRC flags in Boston’s Chinatown in October 2018; video of a dissident attending the “Boston Stands with Hong Kong” march in August 2019; and photographs of anti-PRC dissidents in front of the Boston Public Library in September 2019.

The charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government without providing notification to the U.S. Attorney General provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without providing notification to the U.S. Attorney General provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division; Assistant Director Suzanne Turner of the FBI Counterintelligence Division; and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy H. Kistner for the District of Massachusetts is prosecuting the case. Valuable assistance was provided by Trial Attorney Elizabeth Abraham of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated May 16, 2023

Topic
National Security