US authorities have charged a New York police officer with espionage and accused him of gathering information about the city's Tibetan community from the Chinese government.
The officer, who worked at a station in the Queens part of the city, was led by members of the Chinese Consulate in New York, according to the indictment issued on Monday.
Born in China, the man had been granted political asylum in the United States and claimed that he was tortured by Chinese authorities because of his Tibetan ethnicity.  Through his contacts with the Tibetan community, the 33-year-old man gathered information between 2018 and 2020 about the community's activities, as well as identifying potential sources of information.
According to the indictment, the man ̵
The Chinese authorities are said to have paid him tens of thousands of dollars for the service.
The officer is charged with four charges, including enlisting in the service of a foreign country in United States land, misrepresentation and obstruction of the operation of a public service.
New York City Police Department Dermot Shea said the officer "broke every oath he took in this country. One to the United States, another to the U.S. Army, and a third to this Department of Police."
He was brought before a judge on Monday and taken into custody, a spokesman for the Brooklyn Attorney General told AFP.
According to the NYPD, he is currently suspended without pay.
Despite the man's allegations that he was tortured in C hina because of his ethnicity, the investigation reportedly revealed that both his parents were members of the Chinese Communist Party.
"If confirmed by the courts, the 'espionage operation' shows that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in malicious operations to suppress dissent, not just in Tibet … but anywhere in the world," said the international campaign for Tibet, a group of lawyers which promotes the freedoms and rights of Tibetans.
After allowing Tibet to function autonomously from 1912-1950 Beijing regained control of the territory in 1951. The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has lived in exile since 1959.