China is cracking down. Research shows the authoritarian government has dozens of “overseas police stations” worldwide. The outposts allegedly investigate fraud by Chinese citizens living abroad. But some fear the stations are tracking and harassing dissidents—and worse.
Corruption is rampant in China. It has been since the 1980s. Politicians, military personnel, and others hid cash abroad. They often chose countries like the United States, which have no treaties requiring them to return individuals to China.
For a decade, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pushed an anti-corruption drive. Chinese police attempt to locate corrupt persons living as expatriates. Police pressure them to return to China with their stolen wealth.
Global democracy watchdog group Safeguard Defenders (SD) publishes reports about anti-corruption policing. SD’s website states that Chinese authorities persuaded some 230,000 nationals to return to China and “face criminal proceedings.”
The report studies a web of police stations set up by China in foreign countries. SD says the stations break international laws by conducting police procedures “using illegal methods.” They may operate without the knowledge of local authorities.
SD campaign director Laura Harth claims China has set up at least 54 overseas police stations.
Here are some examples.
- A station operates without consent in Dublin, Ireland.
- Three informal Chinese police service stations allegedly operate in Portugal. One acts undercover as a car shop run by a Chinese man who supposedly heads an association helping Chinese immigrants.
- A Chinese-run police station in Tanzania was featured in a BBC report. Police and the Chinese Embassy deny its presence.
- Offices over a New York City noodle shop are said to house a Fuzhou Police Overseas Chinese Affairs bureau, according to IRS records.
“One of the aims of these campaigns . . . is to silence people,” Harth says. “People that are being targeted, that have family members back in China, are afraid to speak out.”
SD claims that China deprives “suspects’ children of the right to education back in China” and takes other actions against relatives and family members. That includes “outright kidnappings.”
China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning insists Beijing isn’t doing anything wrong. “Chinese public security authorities strictly observe the international law and fully respect the judicial sovereignty of other countries,” she says.
Another spokesperson says the foreign outposts are service stations for Chinese people abroad. They exist for those who need help with actions such as renewing driver’s licenses.
SD reported in November that 14 nations are taking action to monitor and investigate the supposed police outposts inside their borders. On the list are the United States, Canada, Austria, Germany, Nigeria, Chile, and others. The group renewed its urgent call for democratic nations to acknowledge, review, and perhaps end China’s “rapidly expanding transnational repression operations.”
The Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face. — Psalm 11:7
Why? Using illegal means to deprive anyone—even a radical, thief, or corrupt official—of due process and human rights is criminal. But we can look to God, the righteous Judge, and attempt to root out unrighteousness by holding the corrupt on all levels to account.
When I first heard about this
When I first heard about this I was in disbelief. How in the world could America allow China to put their own police stations in our country! It is absolutely appalling and completely unacceptable! Those stations are not up to any good :(
I totally agree!
CIA. America has CIA hideouts everywhere. They are like international police. Not that different from China
This is so wrong. If other countries know that these "police' stations are being set up, shouldn't they try to get rid of them? Also, I wish i could say i am shocked at China's nerve, but honestly, it's china.