Asia

Christine Fang biography: 13 things about suspected Chinese spy who attended CSU East Bay

Christine Fang

Christine Fang

Fang Fang is a Chinese woman who spent years in the United States particularly in California. She is also known as Christine Fang.

A suspected Chinese intelligence operative, Fang connected with politicians across the U.S. specially in the San Francisco Bay Area from 2011 to 2015 and specifically targeted up-and-coming local politicians who had the potential to make it to the national level, according to an Axios report by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Zach Dorfman of the Aspen Institute. Here are 13 more things about Fang according to the report:

 

  1. She was known to be either in her late 20s or in her early 30s when she left China and moved to the U.S. in 2011 to enroll as a student at California State University (CSU) East Bay in Hayward, California. She became the president of the university’s Chinese Student Association and the president  of the campus chapter of Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA).
  2. She was working for Beijing, China and she acted at the direction of China’s main civilian spy agency called the Ministry of State Security (MSS), according to U.S. counterintelligence officials.
  3. U.S. officials first noticed her while they were investigating a different person, who they suspected to be an MSS officer working undercover as a diplomat in the consulate in San Francisco, California. While her main intelligence handlers were based in China, she met and spoke with the suspected MSS officer in the U.S. several times.
  4. While enrolled at CSU East Bay, she met elected officials and other prominent figures by attending campus events, political gatherings, civic society conferences and campaign rallies. Among the officials she met were Mike Honda, who was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California from 2001 to 2017, and Ash Kalra, who was a member of the San Jose City Council for eight years before being elected to the California State Assembly from the 27th district on December 5, 2016.
  5. She grew her network of politicians across the U.S. by attending regional conferences for mayors.
  6. She was accused of having sexual or romantic interactions with at least two Midwestern mayors. FBI electronic surveillance caught her having sex with an Ohio mayor in a car. When the mayor asked her why she was interested in him, she told him she wanted to improve her English.
  7. In 2012, she helped organize a meeting for Judy Chu, who was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 32nd district from 2009 to 2013, in Cupertino Community Hall in Cupertino, California. Former Cupertino mayor Gilbert Wong had seen her frequently at political events. According to Wong, a Midwestern mayor, who was much older than her, referred to her as his girlfriend during a conference in Washington in 2014. In March 2014, she introduced Wong to Xu Qin, who served as the mayor of Shenzhen, China from 2010 to 2017, at an event for U.S. municipal officials hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C.
  8. In 2013, she helped with a fundraiser for Tulsi Gabbard, who has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii’s second district since January 3, 2013.
  9. For her work as the CSU East Bay’s Chinese Student Association president, she was one of the two recipients of the Pioneer Pride Award from the 2012-2013 SOLAR Awards of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.
  10. In 2014, she helped raise funds for the reelection campaign Eric Swalwell, who has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 15th district since January 3, 2013, although there are no Federal Election Commission records that show that she made donations, which are not allowed from foreign nationals. An intern she recommended was placed into his office in D.C. In the same year, she volunteered for the unsuccessful U.S. House of Representatives bid of Ro Khanna, who was eventually elected in the House from California’s 17th district in 2016.
  11. In 2015, Swalwell cut off all ties to her after being alerted by federal investigators about her behavior and activities.
  12. She volunteered in the office of Bill Harrison, the mayor of Fremont, California from 2012 to 2016, and participated in several local political and community events. In August 2015, FBI officials warned him about her suspected activities in the Bay Area.
  13. She was supposed to attend an event in Washington, D.C. in June 2015 but shortly before the event, she left the U.S. She told an acquaintance from California on the same trip that she unexpectedly needed to go back to China.

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