Beijing must stop illegal activities immediately

China’s “overseas police” activities violate the sovereignty and legal systems of other countries, and are likely to violate international law. Beijing should take each country’s concerns seriously and rectify the situation immediately.

China’s public security authorities have set up overseas police outposts abroad to track Chinese dissidents and others and bring them back to China.

According to a report released by a Spanish civil activist group, 102 overseas police bases have been identified in 53 countries, including Western ones. He reportedly has two such police outposts in Japan, one of which is in Tokyo.

There is strong suspicion that these overseas police are not only cracking down on suspects who have fled abroad, but are also involved in the return of pro-democracy activists. Chinese immigrants in the Netherlands said they were warned that their families in China would be harmed and asked to return to China.

According to reports, 11,000 people were forced to return home between 2014 and October 2022.

Secret policing without the consent of the host country is a serious violation of sovereignty. That is totally unacceptable.

The overseas police stations are believed to be operated by the local public security authorities in Wenzhou, the hometown of overseas Chinese, including Fuzhou, Fujian and Wenzhou, Zhejiang. In Dublin, a sign reading “Fuzhou Police Overseas Service Station” was put up.

Chinese immigrant communities around the world could serve as a haven for criminals, pro-democracy activists and others fleeing China. Chinese authorities appear to want to use these communities as a springboard for their investigations.

Beijing called the report “completely false” and explained that the facility in question provides Chinese expatriates with driver’s license renewals and other assistance online.

However, it is a violation of the Vienna Convention to establish an institution with a similar role as a consulate and to operate without the consent of the host country. China must investigate the situation and stop illegal activities.

The Japanese government and the governments of other countries must take strict measures. This issue should also be taken up by the United Nations to raise international awareness.

The Netherlands and Ireland have already ordered the closure of China’s overseas police stations in those countries. In the Netherlands, a man suspected of threatening a Chinese man has been detained. The United States has also stepped up surveillance of China’s overseas police and criticized Beijing for violating national sovereignty by deviating from the process of international cooperation in justice and law enforcement.

The Japanese government takes the position that acts that infringe on sovereignty are absolutely unacceptable. It is unacceptable to use outposts to suppress Chinese residents in Japan.

(From the Yomiuri Shimbun on December 29, 2022)

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