Berklee student convicted of stalking, harassing classmate for promoting freedom in China

BOSTON — A Berklee College of Music student was convicted by a federal jury on Thursday of stalking and threatening a classmate who posted fliers supporting Democracy in China.

26-year-old Xiaolei Wu, who is a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, was convicted of one count of cyberstalking and one count of interstate transmissions of threatening communication after a four-day jury trial, according to the U.S. Attorney’s District of Massachusetts Office.

On October 22, 2022, the victim was posting fliers near the Berklee College of Music campus that said, “Stand with Chinese People,” “We Want Freedom,” and “We Want Democracy.” For two days, Wu made a series of threatening messages to the victim, saying in part, “Post more, I will chop your bastard hands off.” Wu also reportedly encouraged others to abuse the victim online by posting their email address.

“No one in this country should ever be subjected to threats of violence or a cyberstalking harassment campaign for expressing their political views,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “The Department of Justice is committed to safeguarding the fundamental right to free speech for all. This type of conduct will never be tolerated.”

Among other things, Wu also reported the victim’s information back to a member of the Chinese government and told the victim that the public security agency in China would “greet” the victim’s family, according to authorities.

Wu will be sentenced in federal court on April 24, 2024.

“What Xiaolei Wu did in attempting to silence and intimidate an activist who expressed dissension with the ruling Communist Party of China is not only criminal, but completely against our country’s democratic values,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “Today’s conviction upholds one of our most fundamental rights –freedom of speech –and the FBI will ensure that anyone who tries to infringe on this right using threats or harassment will face the same fate as Mr. Wu.”

The charge of cyberstalking provides for a sentence up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of interstate transmissions of threatening communication provides for a sentence up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

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