China establishes 'police stations' in countries around the world to spy on, interdict Chinese citizens living abroad
The Chinese Communist Party may run China, but as an organization, it has a global reach.
That is thanks to a years-long initiative by the regime in Beijing to set up unofficial "police stations" in countries all over the world in order to engage in spying and illegal policing actions against Chinese citizens living abroad, according to new reports.
"Police in China, in coordination with overseas association of Chinese, run by entities of the Chinese Communist Party, has established a series of overseas police 'service stations,' in particular in Europe," says a report from the group Safeguard Defenders
, a human rights NGO established in 2016. "In Spain, there are 9 such stations so far uncovered. While much of their work is to simply service Chinese residents, or tourists, evidence from the Chinese government itself now shows that one station in Madrid, has been actively working with Chinese police to engage in covert and illegal policing operations in Spain."
An investigative report published last month by the organization contains five major findings
-- Between April 2021 and July 2022, Chinese police “persuaded” 230,000 claimed fugitives to return to China “voluntarily” (while admitting not all the targets have committed any crimes);
-- Established Nine forbidden countries, where Chinese nationals are no longer allowed to live unless they have “good reason”;
-- New tools for “persuasion” operations laid down on paper, including denying the target’s children in China the right to education, and other limitations on family members, punishing those without suspicion of any wrongdoing by “guilt by association” (similar to the North Korean practice);
-- The establishment of at least 54 police-run “overseas police service centers” across five continents, some of which are implicated in collaborating with Chinese police in carrying out policing operations on foreign soil (including in Spain);
-- A new law adopted 2 September, going into effect 1 December, establishes full extraterritoriality over Chinese and foreigners globally for certain crimes (fraud, telecom fraud, online scams, etc.).
"For this overseas operation, rather than using international police or judicial cooperation mechanisms – which provide for control mechanisms to protect the rights of the target, including the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence prior to judgment – official provincial statements and guidelines from the local Ministries of Public Security or Procuratorates highlight the mass use of persuasion to return
methods," the report summary states.
The organization noted that in a single 15-month period, all of which occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic that China caused, hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals were returned to the mainland so they could face criminal charges through the 'persuasion' methods. Often, those included harassment and threats to family members still living in China, or made directly to the targets living abroad through physical or online means.
Safeguard Defenders founder and director Peter Dahlin, who co-authored the report, noted in an interview with The Epoch Times
that after his group released its findings, security officials or related agencies
in several North American and European countries have approached the organization "to sit down and have a briefing discussion" on the Chinese government police operations.
“So they are certainly aware of it, at least in some countries,” Dahlin told the outlet.
“We’ve also seen a [Chinese] government notice that said that 10 different provinces should launch these types of operations on a pilot basis,” he said, referencing the report’s citation of a July 5, 2018, news release issued by Beijing
“So, we have two of these operations uncovered [in Fujian Province and Zhejiang Province]. There might be eight more provinces doing this that could have their own stations, and we have not been able to track down that information yet. That’s why we keep saying that … we believe and we have good reason to think that there are more [overseas Chinese police stations]," he added.