Greece to investigate unofficial Chinese police stations, says report

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A special unit of the Chinese police, who seek out, threaten and blackmail Chinese dissidents to return home and suffer the consequences of their political choices, are operating in Greece's capital according to a well-respected Greek journalist.

Vassilis Lambropoulos, as Directus reported, said there is a branch of the Chinese police department on Agesilaou Street in the centre of Athens. In fact, the building uses a storefront as a supposed service office for Chinese citizens.

The offices reportedly house people from China who seek out, threaten and blackmail Chinese dissidents to return home and suffer the consequences of their political choices.

For this "department", according to the report, there is a long-term investigation by the Hellenic Police.

According to Directus, there are also several embassies in Athens that have expressed their interest in the case.

In fact, similar units of the Chinese police seem to exist in other countries as well.

Safeguard Defenders, an Asia-focused rights group based in Spain, has published two reports since September indicating that Chinese authorities have established 102 overseas police stations in 53 countries.

Chinese authorities have dismissed the accusations and said the facilities are volunteer-run centers that help citizens renew documents and offer other services that were disrupted during the COVID pandemic.

It was reported on Thursday that Japanese authorities are investigating a report from a human rights group that Beijing's authorities has set up police offices in Japan, following similar checks by European countries, the United States and Canada.

“We will take all necessary steps as we clarify the situation,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference when asked about the government’s response to the report.

Matsuno said earlier that Japan had told Chinese authorities through diplomatic channels that “it would be unacceptable if there was any activity that violates Japan’s sovereignty.”

Safeguard Defenders said in a September report that police from the Chinese city of Fuzhou had set up a “service station” in Tokyo. The group indicated in a follow-up report that Beijing had another such station in the Japanese city of Nantong.

Japan’s investigation comes after similar checks by Western governments into the reports that alleged that the Chinese police were targeting Chinese nationals living abroad and pressuring some to return home to face criminal charges.

At the same timem, Italy will stop letting Chinese police take part in joint patrols with its officers in its territory, the interior minister said in an interview published on Monday, after reports that Beijing ran police-like operations abroad.

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