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Crackdown On Beijing's Alleged Targeting Of Dissidents Spurs Investigation Into Overseas Chinese Police Stations

  • Posted on April 19, 2023
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British Government on Alert as Reports of Chinese Police Stations in the UK Emerge

The revelation of overseas Chinese police stations in the UK has caused alarm for the British government, with policing minister Chris Philp describing the reports as "of great concern." Investigations into the matter are ongoing, and the government has pledged to protect communities from transnational repression.

The recent arrest of two New York residents accused of operating a Chinese "secret police station" in Manhattan,

New York Bust of Alleged Chinese Secret Police Station Sparks Global Concern

The news follows the recent arrest of two New York residents accused of operating a Chinese "secret police station" in Manhattan, as part of a wider crackdown on Beijing's alleged targeting of dissidents. This news has raised questions about the activities of Chinese law enforcement agencies abroad and their potential involvement in the repression of Chinese citizens living overseas.

 

British Government on Alert as Reports of Chinese Police Stations
Paramilitary Police Stand Guard (Credit: Getty Image)

Chinese authorities accused of monitoring and controlling citizens abroad

Philp revealed that the UK government is aware of around 100 such police stations worldwide, according to the example in Manhattan, and the matter is being taken seriously. These stations are allegedly operated by Chinese authorities and are aimed at monitoring and controlling the activities of Chinese citizens living abroad. The existence of such stations raises serious concerns about the ability of Chinese authorities to extend their influence beyond their borders and suppress dissent.

 

Skepticism over the Chinese government's claim of "volunteer-run" overseas service centers

However, the Chinese government has denied the existence of these stations and said that any centers outside of China are run by local volunteers and not Chinese police officers. The government claims that the aim of these centers is to help Chinese citizens with document renewal and other services. But many remain skeptical of these claims, given the history of Chinese authorities' repression of dissent and their efforts to exert control over the Chinese diaspora.

 

US Department of Justice investigates alleged Chinese police coercion of overseas Chinese dissidents

China has denied the existence of these stations, but an investigation by Safeguard Defenders in 2022 found that China had established "service stations" abroad, such as in New York, which supposedly cooperated unlawfully with Chinese police to force escapees to come back to China. The US Department of Justice has also been investigating transnational repression by countries such as China and Iran, aimed at intimidating political opponents residing in the United States.

 

New York Bust of Alleged Chinese Secret Police Station Sparks Global Concern
FBI agents Raided a Manhattan building used as a Scecret Chinese Police Station

Chinese overseas "service stations" under scrutiny for potential involvement in repression

It is important for countries to take seriously the issue of transnational repression and protect their citizens from foreign interference. The news of these overseas Chinese police stations highlights the need for increased vigilance and investigation into the matter to ensure the safety and security of all communities. The UK government's commitment to investigating the matter and protecting its citizens is commendable, and other countries should follow suit in addressing this issue.

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