Human rights group says China has more secret ‘police stations’ abroad than initially reported

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China operates more than 100 so-called police stations worldwide to monitor, harass and repatriate its citizens in exile, according to a report from Madrid-based human rights campaign group Safeguard Defenders quoted by CNN – 48 more such stations than the 54 it first reported in September.

Many of these stations are set up through bilateral security agreements with host countries in Europe and Africa, the report alleged.
Safeguard Defenders tracked forced disappearances in China by looking through open-source, official Chinese documents for evidence of alleged human rights abuses.

The organisation cited specific examples of a Chinese national being coerced into returning to China from France and other instances of Chinese nationals being forcibly returned from countries including Serbia and Spain.

Safeguard Defenders said it had found four separate police jurisdictions of China’s Ministry of Public Security active in at least 53 countries, per CNN.

China has denied running undeclared police forces overseas, with its Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying in November: “We hope that relevant parties stop hyping it up to create tensions. Using this as a pretext to smear China is unacceptable.”
China has claimed that the facilities are simply for expatriates who need help with administrative tasks like renewing documents.
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They have also claimed that some of the stations were set up in response to the pandemic, but the Safeguard Defenders report claimed that the offices were opened several years before.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Homeland Security Committee last month he was “very concerned” about possible unauthorised Chinese police stations in US cities.

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“It is outrageous to think that the Chinese police would attempt to set up shop, you know, in New York, let’s say, without proper coordination. It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes,” he said.

The revelations about the police stations have sparked investigations in at least 13 countries, CNN said.

Ireland ordered a Chinese police station found on its territory to shut down, as has the Netherlands. Canada has issued “cease and desist” warning to China over police stations.