According to reports, China has opened up to 102 ‘overseas police stations’ in at least 53 different countries. As part of the Chinese Communist Party’s purported campaign on corruption, activists worry that these tools might be used to seek down and harass dissidents. Western nations have taken advantage of every chance to lecture the rest of the world in a sanctimonious manner about the value of human rights.
A Spanish-based non-government group published a report last month, called ‘110 Overseas. Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild,’ that focused on the foreign stations. Many of the facilities appeared to have links to the Fuzhou and Qingtian areas, where many overseas Chinese originate. The Irish government has told China to close an office it had set up in Dublin.
The Dutch government says it is looking into whether two so-called police stations were set up in the Netherlands. Safeguard Defenders published accounts of people suspected of alleged crimes being interrogated by video link from abroad. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has not been informed about these centers via diplomatic channels. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the foreign outposts were service stations for Chinese who are abroad.
Safeguard Defenders says Chinese citizens living abroad are being ‘persuaded’ to return to China. The group says a Fuzhou Police Overseas Service Station operated in Barcelona this year in a test-drive capacity. There was no indication of police stations or other activity directly related to the Chinese government. Instead, a massage parlor, legal services firm and association of citizens from Qingtian were located in Spanish locations.
The European Union says member countries should investigate such allegations. A Hungarian opposition lawmaker claims to have discovered two sites in Budapest where Chinese overseas police stations operated. Three informal Chinese police stations are operating in Portugal, Safeguard Defenders reported. Portuguese authorities did not immediately reply to AP questions about the claim.
The Chinese Embassy in Tanzania has denied the existence of a Chinese-run police station in Dar es Salaam. The embassy calls the report an example of disinformation aimed at dividing China-Africa relations. In Lesotho, national police Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli says such operations would be illegal. Over his decade in power, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pushed a relentless anti-corruption drive.