On Saturday, Oct. 17, a report in the Wall Street Journal detailed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) threatened to take Americans in China hostage if the Justice Department does not stop prosecuting several Chinese researchers arrested on U.S. soil this year.

The report, which was prepared from quotes by witnesses familiar with the issue, revealed that on repeated occasions, CCP officials threatened Americans with the detention of American citizens on Chinese soil, according to the New York Post.

The CCP’s so-called hostage diplomacy retaliation is said to have been in response to the arrest of at least five Chinese academics accused of links to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army who visit American universities to conduct research.

The arrests came after the State Department ordered CCP to close the Houston Consulate last July, also issuing an order for it to remove all military researchers currently in the United States. 

The New York Post noted that the scientists were charged with visa fraud, and for lying to U.S. Immigration authorities about their active status in the Chinese military.

The threats by the CCP began during the summer after Chinese researcher Juan Tang, who worked for the University of California at Davis, was interrogated by the FBI and stayed for a month at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco.

According to Daily Wire, the tactic now employed by the CCP has been used for years, going so far as to detain foreigners on charges that in their home countries are considered fraudulent.

The Chinese Thousand Talents program has also been under fire from U.S. federal prosecutors, as it subsidizes researchers with a commitment to keep payments hidden.

Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen, was arrested and convicted in a sentence to prison in China for allegedly “illegally providing intelligence overseas,” which was challenged by the human rights group Amnesty International and the Swedish government.

Another case is that of American Mark Swidan, who has been held by the CCP since 2012 on drug trafficking charges, and according to the Daily Wire, China’s justice system monitors in particular say the drug charges are fabricated by the CCP to arrest people for political reasons.

Last month the State Department issued a travel advisory to warn Americans to avoid traveling to China and Hong Kong due to the CCP Virus and arbitrary enforcement of local laws.

The advisory further stated, “The PRC government [the CCP] arbitrarily enforces local laws, including by carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and through the use of exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law,” according to Bizpac Review.