China has opened illegal police stations in several countries across the world: Report
According to recent reports, the Chinese government has opened several illegal police stations across the world, including in countries like Europe, the UK, the US, Canada and Ireland. This revelation comes amid China’s quest to emerge as a global superpower and has sparked concerns among human rights campaigners.
These police stations are affiliated with the Public Security Bureau (PSB) across Canada and have been set up to antagonise China’s adversaries, said Investigative Journalism Reportika citing local media. The report also claims that at least three such police stations are in the Greater Toronto Area alone.
The Investigative Journalism Reportika also alleges that Beijing is trying to influence elections in certain countries through these illegal police stations. The arrangement of these illegal police stations is also present in countries like Ukraine, France, Spain, Germany, and the UK. According to the Fuzhou police, they have already opened 30 such police stations in 21 different countries.
Meanwhile, China has reportedly called these facilities “vocational skill training centres” which they deemed necessary to “counter” extremism and improve livelihoods. In 2019, Chinese officials also indicated that most “trainees” had “graduated” from the centres.
Another report, titled, “110 Overseas: Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild,” released earlier this month, details how these “overseas police service stations” monitor citizens living abroad. This is reportedly a part of China’s efforts to combat “fraud” committed by these citizens and how the police stationed in the five continents have assisted authorities in Beijing to carry out “policing operations on foreign soil”.
“These operations eschew official bilateral police and judicial cooperation and violate the international rule of law, and may violate the territorial integrity in third countries involved in setting up a parallel policing mechanism using illegal methods,” read the report by Safeguard Defenders, a Spain-based human rights NGO.
According to the report, there are a total of 54 such stations in 30 different countries. It further indicates that Europe is home to a majority of these illegal police stations and they are in several major cities including Paris, Madrid, Prague, Budapest, Athens, and Frankfurt. There are reportedly also three such stations in the UK including two in London and one in Glasgow.
Meanwhile, the report also claimed that there are four such stations in North America, three in Toronto and one in New York City. There are several illegal police stations in Asian countries like Japan, Uzbekistan, Brune, and Mongolia, said the report.
The report also details how Beijing has done this as an attempt to combat the growing issue of telecommunication fraud by Chinese nationals living abroad. Till now, they have reportedly run several operations that have led to at least 230,000 Chinese nationals being “persuaded to return” to China “voluntarily” to face criminal prosecution.
According to the report, the Chinese government has claimed that these police stations are essential for citizens living abroad but the report points out how many of the services that these illegal police stations carry out would be traditionally carried out by the country’s embassy. The report alleges that these stations have been used to further China’s overseas law enforcement capabilities which might be in violation of international law.
Therefore, the report concludes by saying, “As these operations continue to develop, and new mechanisms are set up, it is evident that countries governed by the standards set by universal human rights and the rule of law urgently need to investigate these practices to identify the (local) actors at work, mitigate the risks and effectively protect the growing number of those targeted.”
This statement was made in relation to another part of the report that outlines the potential human rights violations that take place at these stations including using methods like harassment or intimidation or even threatening family members of those living overseas. The report also claims that these stations are being used to spread Beijing's propaganda, and monitor the behaviour and opinions of Chinese nationals living abroad.