By Jon Kunsman
NEW YORK — Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials say threats issued by a Chinese YouTuber prompted them to issue a security alert on Sept. 4, 2023, informing officers about a potential threat to Dragon Springs: a 400-plus acre campus in Orange County, upstate New York established by Falun Gong practitioners.
The Chinese YouTuber, whose name is withheld to protect the safety of innocent people around him as well as avoid providing him with additional publicity, had posted videos that officials felt demonstrated a credible threat to Dragon Springs.
Police officers from two towns near Dragon Springs, a New York state police representative, and one official from Department of Homeland Security all confirmed the security notice.
New York state police met with Dragon Springs campus security to share details of the threat as well as initiate frequent check-ins at the campus gates to further secure the area.
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Both the content of the videos as well as location data specified on their posting combined to indicate a potentially serious threat.
In one video posted on Sept. 1, 2023, the YouTuber discusses a desire to “settle accounts.” He also indicates he has fulfilled the goal of becoming a “spy” and wanted to become part of a “death squad.”
His target was Dragon Springs.
In another video posted on Sept. 2, 2023, the YouTuber says he is “near the Dragon Springs property” and expresses an intention to meet people “face-to-face.” Youtube information reveals that the video was posted from northern New Jersey, within an hour’s drive of Dragon Springs.
Dragon Springs is a 400+ acre campus established by practitioners of Falun Gong: a Buddhist-based spiritual practice that was widely popular in China before its popularity prompted the Chinese regime to launch a violence campaign to “eradicate” the practice. The campus features a collection of Buddhist-style temples, hosts an academy and college, and serves as the training ground for Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Illegal firearms seized, charges pending
Further analysis of the YouTuber’s channel reveals other disturbing content.
In one video, the YouTuber is seen sitting on the floor of what appears to be his living room, using a speed loader to load ammunition into pistol magazines. A Glock-like semi-automatic pistol lies on the floor in front of him.
According to federal authorities, local police determined that the YouTuber was illegally in possession of firearms, and seized the firearms from his home shortly after he returned from his trip to New Jersey, near the Dragon Springs campus.
Pattern of intimidation, thuggery
A series of Chinese government directives obtained by human rights groups and Western media outlets articulate a strategy of suppressing and marginalizing Falun Gong outside China. In some cases, the directives single out Dragon Springs specifically as a target: “Tightly focus on…the headquarter bases and foreign political figures, carefully organize the strategy to strike and divide them,” reads one CCP document.
The “headquarter” is an apparent reference to the Dragon Springs site in upstate New York.
“We are not yet aware of any hard evidence linking this YouTuber to known CCP agents,” Falun Dafa Information Center executive director, Levi Browde, wrote in a statement.
“However, the ideas he’s spreading and the threats he’s making are 100% in line with what the CCP is calling for: he’s precisely following the mandates in these CCP documents to target Dragon Springs, and the Falun Gong community more broadly.”
“Furthermore, it is also evident from the abundant of enthusiastic, supportive comments posted under his videos that the CCP’s ’50 cent army’ is actively promoting his channel,” Browde said.
The ’50 cent army’ refers to a group of online users, likely numbering in the hundreds of thousands, trained and paid by the CCP to influence opinions online worldwide.
For the past 24 years, CCP officials and proxies have targeted Falun Gong around the world through street violence, attempts at soft power subversion, illicit use of economic or political pressure as well as attacks on media outlets and organizations founded by Falun Gong practitioners.