BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) The FBI announced Wednesday an arrest at Berklee College of Music.
According to the FBI Boston, Xiaolei Wu, a 25-year-old student attending the college, was arrested for allegedly stalking someone who openly supported democracy in China.
The FBI called this “incredibly disturbing” in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. The FBI said the agency believes Wu harassed, stalked, and reported the victim’s support for democracy to the People’s Republic of China in hopes of launching an investigation into the victim and their family.
The FBI went on to say that the conduct “goes against our country’s democratic values.” Wu made his first appearance in court Wednesday afternoon.
“Today, the FBI arrested Xiaolei Wu for repeatedly threatening and infringing on the rights of a civic activist who spoke out against the ruling Communist Party of China. We believe Mr. Wu stalked, harassed, and reported the victim’s support for democracy to law enforcement in the People’s Republic of China so it would launch an investigation into the victim and her family. This alleged conduct is incredibly disturbing and goes completely against our country’s democratic values,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “This case also highlight’s the FBI’s ongoing commitment to protecting the exercise of free speech for all citizens and our efforts to bring to justice anyone who tries to infringe on those rights.”
Wu is accused of making threats towards the victim and texting her phrases like “I will chop your bastard hands off” after she posted fliers stating “We want freedom,” and “Stand with the Chinese People,” on October 22, 2022 on or near the Berklee College of Music. Wu is accused of adding that he had alerted the security agency in China about the victim’s behavior and the security agency would “greet” the victim’s family.
“The Department of Justice will always defend the right to engage in free speech and political expression. We allege that Mr. Wu’s threatening and harassing behavior was not free speech. Rather, it was an attempt to silence and intimidate the activist’s expressed views dissenting of the PRC,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “We will not tolerate threats, harassment or any other repression attempts against those peacefully promoting their ideas, doing their jobs, or expressing their opinions. Freedom of speech is a constitutional right here in the United States and we will protect and defend it at all costs.”
If convicted Wu faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine up to $250,000.