Countries are expected to close Chinese consulates until the communist regime shuts down its network of illegal police operations, a former deputy national security adviser said after nearly 50 additional stations were reportedly found.
“Chinese police stations overseas are one of the many ways Beijing is eroding our national sovereignty and depriving ethnic Chinese, in particular, of their rights as citizens of democracies,” the president of the Chinese government told Fox News. Chinese program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Matt Pottinger. . “Democracies should close Chinese consulates until Beijing withdraws its illegal and extraterritorial law enforcement agencies from our borders.”
Safeguard Defenders, a pan-Asian human rights organization, released an investigation on Monday, called “Patrol and Persuade,” which said 48 other Chinese police service stations were operating overseas in addition to the 54 the group had identified in September. The reported locations cover 53 countries, including four US-based stations: two in New York City, one in Los Angeles, and one set up by the Nantong Public Security Bureau at an undisclosed location.
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“We know that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has stepped up its transnational crackdown efforts around the world in recent years,” Safeguard Defenders campaign manager Laura Harth told Fox News. “And that the United Front networks connected to these stations have long been engaged in operations of influence and interference abroad.”
“The stations just appear as the latest iteration of such growing practices,” he said.
These overseas police stations allow Chinese authorities to “carry out police operations on foreign soil,” and have aided a CCP campaign to combat citizens living overseas who have allegedly committed “fraud and telecommunications fraud,” he said. said Harth. Since the launch of the campaign in April 2021, 230,000 Chinese nationals have been “persuaded to return” home to be prosecuted for alleged crimes, according to China’s Ministry of Public Security.
Safeguard Defenders also linked the reported overseas police network to the activities of the Work Department of the United Front of China, a Communist Party organization tasked with spreading its influence and propaganda overseas.
“The best testament to the scale of clandestine police operations run by the [People’s Republic of China] authorities come from their own official statements and working reports,” Harth said. Beijing has touted the success of Operation Fox Hunt, a campaign that has returned more than 11,000 high-value fugitives to China since 2014, according to Harth.
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“The numbers and the scale speak for themselves,” he said. “Especially in combination with the framework of the illegal methods used … which include threats, harassment, detention of family members at home; the deployment of secret agents, embassy personnel, individuals linked to overseas stations or agents hired to / persuade” the target abroad directly on foreign soil; and even kidnappings”.
China’s foreign ministry denied running an undeclared police force and said the headquarters provide services to citizens living abroad, such as renewing ID documents and driving licenses.
However, the reported new stations were set up as early as 2016, according to the Safeguard Defenders investigation, contesting claims by China that operations were launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Even more worrying about China’s expanding operations, Harth said, is that “the vast majority of targeted countries seemed completely unaware” of the CCP’s police networks operating on their loot, “highlighting the urgent need to a coordinated response through the democratic alliance”.
At least 13 countries, including Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, have launched investigations into these police stations after the initial reporting of their existence, according to Safeguard Defenders. The United States has also been included in the list, but it is unclear what steps the government is taking to look into the matter.
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FBI Director Christopher Wray told a hearing of the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in November that he was aware of the existence of the stations and that he found the matter deeply concerning, but he declined to detail the bureau’s investigative work on the matter.
“But it’s outrageous to me to think that Chinese police are trying to set up shop in, you know, in New York, shall we say, without proper coordination,” Wray said. “It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard law enforcement and judicial cooperation processes.”
Harth said it was “extremely encouraging to see the response of some governments” but recommended that all countries hosting one of these stations “take action to counter this common internal threat and the attack on fundamental freedoms and territorial sovereignty “.