With days left in his tenure, Attorney General Bill Barr is continuing to bring the hammer down on China — even as he suffers a public falling out with his boss.
Barr’s Justice Department charged a Chinese national and former Zoom executive with conspiracy for shutting down video meetings to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Washington Examiner reported Friday.
Barr’s DOJ charges Chinese national
Xinjiang “Julien” Jin, 39, allegedly took advantage of his access at Zoom to leak the personal information of Chinese dissidents back to Beijing and monitor the platform for activity China considers “illegal,” according to the New York Post. He served as the company’s liaison with China’s law enforcement and intelligence services.
The Chinese national was charged in Brooklyn with conspiring to shut down at the behest of China at least four Zoom meetings held by dissidents living in America, dating to January 2019, to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre, according to Bloomberg. Zoom says they fired him after an investigation.
The company told the Washington Examiner that it is “dedicated to the free and open exchange of ideas and supports the U.S. government’s commitment to protect American interests from foreign influence.”
Jin, who is not in U.S. custody, could face up to 10 years in prison if ever prosecuted, the Examiner notes. He was charged with conspiracy to commit interstate harassment and unlawful conspiracy to transfer a means of identification.
“No company with significant business interests in China is immune from the coercive power of the Chinese Community Party,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said, according to the Examiner. “The Chinese Communist Party will use those within its reach to sap the tree of liberty, stifling free speech in China, the United States and elsewhere about the Party’s repression of the Chinese people.”
AG slammed by Trump in final days
A China hawk, Barr has been vocal about his concerns with the communist nation’s rise, especially its influence over Western corporations.
“All too often, for the sake of short-term profits, American companies have succumbed to that influence — even at the expense of freedom and openness in the United States,” Barr said in July, according to CNBC.
The Trump administration has sanctioned a number of Chinese entities over spying and human rights abuses, and the Justice Department has brought several cases relating to the harassment of Chinese dissidents living in America.
This latest development comes as President Donald Trump has slammed Barr as a “big disappointment” for his putative failure to investigate voter fraud and publicize an investigation into Hunter Biden.
On Monday, Barr said there was “no reason” to appoint a special counsel to investigate Trump’s concerns, according to the Associated Press.