Agents of the Chinese Communist Party have established clandestine overseas policing “service stations” across the United Kingdom and European Union to control foreign Chinese populations through blackmail and other intimidation tactics, a report has claimed.
Safeguarding Defenders released a report this week detailing the scale of the long arm of Communist China’s overseas policing operations, which the human rights organisation notes are likely violating both international law and the territorial integrity of other countries by “setting up a parallel policing mechanism using illegal methods” within their borders.
According to the report, CCP apparatchiks have established some 54 overseas police “service stations” across five continents, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
While the so-called “110 overseas service stations” — a reference to the emergency phone number in China — were supposedly established to help overseas Chinese people with legal paperwork such as extending their driver’s licence, the Safeguarding Defenders report found evidence that pointed to more nefarious operations being carried out by the offices.
After exposing the expansion of Chinese police overseas stations, we now unveil evidence – straight from the Chinese government – how some have been used for long-arm policing operations on European soil. #TNR https://t.co/NEguhac3YH
— Safeguard Defenders (保护卫士) (@SafeguardDefend) September 15, 2022
In an example highlighted by the report, a Chinese man in Madrid, Spain was “persuaded” to return back to China to face prosecution for alleged pollution crimes after one such “overseas service station” hunted him down and forced him to attend a video call with a Chinese prosecutor and security agents alongside a member of his family — likely a veiled threat.
The report also claimed that CCP agents were discovered making threats of depriving the suspects’ children in China of the right to education. It went on to say that “the bank accounts of their immediate family members and friends who engaged in financial transactions with the suspects would be controlled, restricted or even cancelled.” Should family members refuse to cooperate, then authorities would move to revoke their social welfare benefits.
During an Anxi county “thousand-person conference” in China, the meeting concluded that in order to return alleged criminals from abroad, officials should gather “a group of immediate family members of the Party members and cadres should be persuaded to return in an all-around way.”
In total, China has claimed to have returned some 230,000 people to face criminal prosecution for fraud and telecom fraud from abroad between April of 2021 to July of this year, alone.
While the true number of overseas policing offices is likely much higher, Safeguarding Defenders has identified 36 such sites in Continental Europe and the United Kingdom, including two in London, one registered as an estate agency and the other as a food delivery office. A third office is located in Glasgow in a Chinese restaurant, according to The Telegraph.
Overseas police “service stations” were also found in 15 other European countries including Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Ukraine.
In exclusive comments to Breitbart London, the founder of Safeguarding Defenders, Peter Dahlin, said: “We were somewhat surprised to see the heavy focus on Europe amongst the 54 stations Safeguard Defenders have, so far, uncovered. There are bound to be many more, as Chinese government documents indicate, yet the focus on Europe is striking.
“Considering that the U.S., Canada, and Australia are the, by far, most popular countries for overseas Chinese, one would have expected more stations around those. Yet, it may point towards an already well-established network of ‘overseas’ or ‘Chinese diaspora’ associations in those places, unlike in Europe.”
Dahlin said that in most cases, with the exception of the United Kingdom to some degree, governments and police forces across Europe are “woefully unaware of the Chinese operations on their soil”. He said that when groups such as his raise the alarm, European authorities either act surprised or attempt to downplay incidents for “diplomatic reasons,” with many countries preferring to “stick their head in the sand” to avoid tensions with China.
The report claimed that by deploying the unofficial police offices, the communist state is able to skirt traditional extradition proceedings, which means that Chinese citizens abroad are left with little to no legal recourse under international law.
“In general, there has been far less focus here in Europe on protecting the rights of Chinese residents, and ensuring that these communities can safely enjoy the democratic freedoms they should be afforded here in Europe,” the Safeguarding Defenders founder said.
“That these actions grossly undermine the judicial sovereignty of the countries affected should, as a very first step at least, lead to a suspension of any and all such extradition treaties, to leverage China to rein in and stop these operations, which violate the right to due process for the victims, and basic bilateral relationships.”