According to research by the human rights NGO Safeguard Defenders, Chinese authorities run dozens more secret Chinese “police stations” abroad.
The extra 48 locations supplement the original September 2022 revelation, which showed 54 Chinese outlets, for a total of at least 102 confirmed instances of Chinese authorities conducting operations within other countries. The previous report named one place in Revised York City as being within the policing jurisdiction of Fuzhou, China, but the new list added three more in the U.S. New locations in NY and LA have been discovered as being controlled by the Wenzhou, China, policing jurisdiction, while the exact location of a third operation is unclear but is run by the Nantong, China, police jurisdiction.
According to CTV News, at least two locations have now been identified in Canada, with Safeguard Defenders, which is a Spanish nongovernmental group, documenting the stations using open-source claims from Chinese authorities, Chinese police, and state media.
The Chinese effort is said to have started in May 2016 with a test attempt to establish an international contact point in Milan. By August, the company had expanded to three sites, including Paris and a second Italian branch in Prato.
“On August 29, 2019, China News Outlet announced the Wenzhou Public Security Agency’s installation of a a May 2016 ‘pilot’ of a Police and Overseas Chinese interaction point in Milan, Italy,” according to the document.
“According to the Central United Front Work Dept. website,” the story continues, “by Aug. 2016, the Wenzhou Public Security Agency had established three similar Police and Overseas Chinese communication centers, including Paris (France) and Prato (Italy).”
One of the outlets’ obvious aims is the “persuasion to return” operations, in which Chinese officials try to catch Chinese nationals that had broken the law and persuade them to return to China. A station manager in Paris, for example, allegedly bragged on Chinese news outlets about encouraging a criminal living in France to return to China:
“In October 2019, I was also entrusted by domestic public security organ systems to help convince a criminal that had been absconding in France for so many years to come back to China through many visits,” Hu Renai said in an article published on the Sina Corporation’s website, a Chinese firm that was publicly traded on NASDAQ until 2021 when it went private.
Chinese authorities purportedly stated in July 2022 that their foreign operations were responsible for the return of scores of offenders to China. “Nantong Police and Foreign Linkage Stations aided in the capture or persuading of 80 ‘criminal suspects’ to return to China.”