The “overseas service stations,” which claim to offer diplomacy services, have been utilised, according to Dutch media, to try to stifle Chinese subversive abroad.
The unauthorised police outposts’ presence is unlawful, according to a spokeswoman for the Dutch foreign ministry. The Chinese foreign ministry denied the claims made by the Dutch.
The probe was brought on by a study by the Spanish-based NGO Safeguard Defenders, titled Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild.
54 “overseas police service centres” have been set up across five continents and 21 countries, according to the organisation, by the public security departments of two Chinese provinces. Nine of them are in Spain and four are in Italy, which together make up the majority of them. Two in London and one in Glasgow were discovered in the UK.
The groups were supposedly established to combat international crime and carry out administrative tasks, such as renewing Chinese driver’s licenses. However, according to Safeguard Defenders, in actuality, they engage in “persuasion operations,” which have the goal of pressuring people who are thought to be standing out against the Chinese government to go back home.
Wang Jingyu, a Chinese dissident who claimed to be being hunted by Chinese authorities in the Netherlands, was the subject of a report that was shared by RTL News and the investigative journalism website Follow the Money.
Wang told Dutch journalists in English that he had received a call early this year from a person purporting to be from one such station. He claimed that throughout the meeting, he was persuaded to go back to China to “resolve my issues also to consider my parents “.
Since then, he has detailed a deliberate program of coercion and abuse that he says is being carried out by agents of the Chinese government.
The Chinese embassy informed the media in reaction to the disclosures that it was unaware of the existence of such police stations.
Maxime Hovenkamp, a spokesman for the Dutch foreign ministry, told the media:”The Dutch government wasn’t made aware of these operations through the diplomatic channels with the Chinese government. That is illegal.”
She stated she would need to look into it and determine the best course of action. “It is very worrying a Chinese national has apparently been subjected to intimidation and harassment here in the Netherlands. Police are looking into options to offer him protection,” she continued.
A consulate or embassy often takes care of services like passport extensions and visa requests. The Vienna Convention, to which both the Netherlands and China are parties, establishes the diplomatic norms that are applicable in these places.
By evading national authority and the protections provided by domestic law, policing posts like the ones Beijing is suspected of conducting could undermine the territorial sovereignty of a host nation.
Wang Wenbin, a spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated on Wednesday that what had been referred to as foreign police stations “are actually service stations for Chinese nationals abroad,” and that China fully recognised the legal sovereignty of other nations.
China’s policing strategies, according to Safeguard Defenders, are “problematic,” as they target people without conclusively demonstrating links to crime or abiding by due process in host nations.
According to the organisation, this is generally accomplished through coercing or threatening the family members of the accused prisoners in an effort to “convince” them to come home.
China’s national Anti-Telecom and Online Fraud Law, which asserts extraterritorial jurisdiction over all Chinese nationals overseas who are accused of committing various kinds of crime, was passed on September 2.
Theoretically, the new law and Chinese police forces stationed abroad provide subversives nowhere else to run.
The Dutch government is under increasing demand to ensure that Dutch law predominates in the country and that any Chinese government dissidents who are granted shelter can be safeguarded.