Der Spiegel – The human rights NGO Safeguard Defenders has revealed how China operates over 100 overseas ‘police stations’ from which they monitor Chinese exiles living abroad.
In September, the organisation highlighted the existence of 54 of these stations for the first time. They have now added a further 48 to the list. These stations are used to harass and keep track of Chinese citizens who have left the country, and in some cases have even repatriated individuals. The report speaks of one case in which a Chinese national was forced to return home by undercover agents working at a station in a Paris suburb. Two other exiles were forced to return from Serbia and Spain.
The publication of the “Patrol and Persuade” report on the issue also analyses how Beijing makes use of bilateral security agreements with countries in Europe and Africa to implement a far-reaching international presence. Part of this includes joint policing initiatives between China and several European countries, such as Italy, Croatia, Serbia and Romania. Italy is in fact home to the largest number of overseas stations, totalling eleven.
The revelations have led to investigations in at least 13 different countries and has triggered a diplomatic row between China and countries such as Canada, where there is a large Chinese diaspora.
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