The Justice Department has charged eight people with participating in a covert effort on behalf of the Chinese government that aimed to locate Chinese dissidents and others in the US who were wanted by Beijing and coercing them into returning to China.

Five of the eight were arrested Wednesday, accused of participating in a covert Chinese operation that officials say was built on intimidation, bullying and “very disturbing” tactics. The other three are believed to be in China.

The arrests are among a series of recent actions the Trump administration has taken against China, a country President Donald Trump regards as a prime adversary.

In July, for instance, the Justice Department charged hackers working with the Chinese government with targeting firms developing vaccines for the coronavirus and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of intellectual property and trade secrets from companies across the world.

“China is violating laws and norms left and right,” FBI Director Chris Wray said.

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