Beijing must stop illegal activities immediately

It is highly likely that China’s “overseas police” activities have infringed on the sovereignty and legal systems of other countries, and constitute a violation of international law. Beijing should take the concerns of each country seriously and immediately rectify the situation.

It has come to light that Chinese public security authorities have set up overseas police outposts in foreign countries to track people, such as Chinese dissidents, and take them back to China.

According to a report published by a Spanish private activist organization, 102 overseas police bases have been confirmed in 53 countries, including Western nations. There are reportedly two such police outposts in Japan, including one in Tokyo.

It is highly suspected that these overseas police not only crack down on suspects who have fled abroad, but are also involved in repatriating people such as pro-democracy activists. A Chinese immigrant in the Netherlands said he was warned that his family members in China would be harmed and he received a demand to return to China.

The report states that 11,000 people were forced to return home between 2014 and October 2022.

Covert police activity conducted without the consent of host countries is a serious violation of their sovereignty. It is totally unacceptable.

The overseas police stations are believed to be operated by regional public security authorities of such cities as Fuzhou in Fujian Province and Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province, from which many overseas Chinese people hail. In Dublin, a sign was posted that read “Fuzhou Police Overseas Service Station.”

Chinese immigrant communities across the globe can serve as hiding places for criminals, pro-democracy activists and others who have fled China. It seems Chinese authorities want to use such communities as a foothold for their investigations.

Beijing has described the report as “completely false” and explained that the facilities in question provide Chinese expatriates with online support for renewing their driver’s licenses and other assistance.

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

The governments of Japan and other countries need to take strict action. This issue should also be addressed at the United Nations to raise international awareness.

The Netherlands and Ireland have already ordered the closure of Chinese overseas police stations in those countries. In the Netherlands, a person suspected of having threatened the Chinese man has reportedly been detained. The United States has also stepped up its monitoring of China’s overseas police and criticized Beijing for infringing on the sovereignty of nations by deviating from a process of international cooperation in justice and law enforcement.

The Japanese government has taken the position that it is absolutely unacceptable if activities that infringe on sovereignty have been conducted. A situation in which the outposts are used to oppress Chinese people in Japan must not be allowed.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 29, 2022)