China Accused of Illegal Policing In The Netherlands

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  • The Chinese government has been accused of establishing at least two undeclared police stations in the Netherlands.
  • Dutch media found evidence that the overseas service stations are being used to try to silence Chinese dissidents in Europe.
  • Dutch foreign ministry said the existence of the unofficial police outposts was illegal.

The Chinese foreign ministry has rejected the Dutch allegations. The investigation was sparked by a report entitled Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild, by the Spain-based NGO Safeguard Defenders.

Illegal Policing?

According to the organization, the public security bureaus from two Chinese provinces had established 54 “overseas police service centers” across five continents and 21 countries. Most of them are in Europe. The units were ostensibly created to tackle transnational crime and conduct administrative duties, such as the renewal of Chinese drivers’ licenses. But, according to Safeguard Defenders, in reality they carry out “persuasion operations”.

RTL News and the investigative journalism platform Follow the Money shared the story of Wang Jingyu, a Chinese dissident who said he was being pursued by Chinese police in the Netherlands. Since then, he described a systematic campaign of harassment and intimidation, which he believes is being orchestrated by Chinese government agents.

In response to the revelations, the Chinese embassy told RTL News it was not aware of the existence of such police stations.

Finding Out The Truth

Services such as passport renewals or visa requests are usually handled by an embassy or consulate. Diplomatic rules apply in these locations, as laid out in the Vienna Convention, of which both the Netherlands and China are signatories. Policing outposts like the ones China is accused of running could violate the territorial integrity of a host country by circumventing national jurisdictions and the protections afforded under domestic law.

Chinese Foreign affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday that what had been described as police stations overseas “are actually service stations for Chinese citizens abroad”. Many Chinese had been unable to return to China because of the coronavirus, he told reporters: “To help them overcome difficulties, relevant local governments have opened online service platforms…”

Safeguard Defenders said China’s policing tactics were “problematic” as they targeted suspects without firmly establishing links to crime. This is primarily done by coercing or making threats against the family members of alleged fugitives, as a method to “persuade” them to return home.

The pressure is now on the Dutch government to ensure critics of the Chinese government who are granted asylum can be protected, and that in the Netherlands, Dutch law prevails.

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Source: BBC

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