US court sentences Chinese citizen to prison for threatening person who promoted democracy in China

CNNA Chinese citizen who threatened and harassed an individual who advocated for democracy in China has been sentenced to nine months in prison and three years of supervised release, the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced Wednesday.

Xiaolei Wu, 26, who attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, was convicted in January of one count of cyberstalking and one count of interstate transmissions of threatening communication, prosecutors said.

CNN has reached out to the Federal Public Defender Office in Massachusetts, which is representing Wu, for comment.

Wu is no longer enrolled as a student at Berklee College of Music, the school told CNN Wednesday. He was previously suspended from the school after the incident in 2022.

CNN previously reported that Wu allegedly sent threatening messages to a person who posted a flier on or near the college campus supporting Chinese democracy, according to the complaint.

“Post more, I will chop your bastard hands off,” Wu reportedly said on WeChat, a Chinese messaging app.

Charging documents allege Wu reported the person to the Chinese government and told them its representatives would “greet” their family members.

Wu allegedly also solicited others to find where the person lives, and publicly posted their email address online in the hope that they would receive abuse, the documents said.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy said Wu’s conduct was very serious.

“He harnessed the fear of potential retribution from the PRC (People’s Republic of China) government to harass and threaten an innocent individual who had posted an innocuous, pro-democracy flier on the Berklee campus,” Levy said.

“Mr. Wu’s violent threats achieved his goal of instilling fear in his effort to silence this brave victim and others who might want to speak out against the PRC government,”

“Our office and the Department of Justice will not tolerate efforts to intimidate and threaten people to suppress their First Amendment rights. Censorship and repression campaigns will never be tolerated here.”