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Olympic Figure Skater And Her Father 'Targeted In Chinese Spy Case'

Olympic Figure Skater And Her Father 'Targeted In Chinese Spy Case'

Alysa Liu competed in the women's singles event at the games in Beijing

Alysa Liu and her father Arthur Liu were targeted by Chinese spies, the US authorities have claimed.

The ice skater competed for the US at the Winter Olympics in Beijing last month, in the women's singles skating competition.

However, Mr Liu said he was contacted by the FBI in October last year, who warned him that there was a spying plot involving his daughter, 16, who he did not tell at the time.

Speaking to Associated Press about the plan, Mr Liu said he couldn't let it ruin Alysa's dream of competing at the Olympics.

He told the agency: 'We believed Alysa had a very good chance of making the Olympic team and truly were very scared.'

Mr Liu went on: 'This is her moment. This is her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games.

'I'm not going to let them stop her from going, and I'll do whatever I can to make sure she's safe and I'm willing to make sacrifices so she can enjoy the moment.

Alysa Liu was being spied on by the Chinese government, the Justice Department claims.

'I'm not going to let them win—to stop me—to silence me from expressing my opinions anywhere.'

A month later, Mr Liu said he was contacted by someone claiming to be from the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, who asked for Alysa's passport details - which Mr Liu refused to do.

'I didn’t feel good about it. I felt something fishy was going on,' he said.

'From my dealings with the U.S. Figure Skating association, they would never call me on the phone to get copies of our passports.

'I really cut it short once I realized what he was asking for.'

The 16-year-old's father was contacted by the FBI back in October last year.

Mr Liu said he agreed to allow his daughter compete after receiving assurances from the US that she would be protected during the event.

He said: 'They are probably just trying to intimidate us, to... in a way threaten us not to say anything to cause trouble to them and say anything political or related to human rights violations in China.

'I had concerns about her safety. The U.S. government did a good job protecting her.'

This comes after the US Justice Department announced earlier this week (Weds 16 March) that five men had been charged over accusations of working for the Chinese government to stalk and harass dissidents in the US.

Mr Liu said he and his daughter were named as "Dissident 3" and "family member" as part of the case.

Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, claimed he wasn't 'aware of the specifics' around it but that his country was 'firmly opposed to the U.S. slandering by making an issue of this out of thin air'.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: US News, Sport, Olympics, China