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Report: Chinese communists operating covert police operations in the US, Canada, and Europe

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WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese communist agents are reportedly conducting extralegal and clandestine policing operations across the globe to intimidate and hunt down persons wanted by Beijing. The United States, Canada, and Europe are among the countries home to the CCP "police service stations" involved in this work.

According to a new report, these police stations, while purportedly created to combat fraud, are a means to extend the genocidal communist regime's influence and powers of "transnational repression." This confirms the acceleration of a well-documented trend of the communist power infringing upon the "rights and freedoms of overseas Chinese and minority communities in exile."

Parallel policing mechanisms

Safeguard Defenders, a European pan-Asian human rights NGO, issued a September report entitled "110 Overseas: Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild," detailing how the communist Chinese regime has employed "overseas police service stations" on five continents.

On January 22, Liu Rongyan, director of the Overseas Chinese Police Office of the Public Security Bureau in Fuzhou City, announced that the "first batch" of 30 overseas police services in 25 cities across 21 countries had been opened. There are now reportedly 54 such CCP-backed centers.

There are allegedly one station in New York, three in Toronto, and dozens across Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Whereas China contends that these stations serve expats in the capacity of micro-consulates, aiding with administrative tasks (e.g., filing police reports or renewing drivers' licenses), Safeguard Defenders indicated that the primary function of these forward operating bases is instead to compel persons to return to China whenever the regime has determined them to have broken Chinese law.

"These operations eschew official bilateral police and judicial cooperation and violate international law," said the report. Furthermore, they may "violate the territorial integrity of third countries involved in setting up a parallel policing mechanism using illegal methods."

The development of these centers occurred alongside the CCP's campaign to intimidate and extort Chinese nationals and expats to return to China to face criminal proceedings. Between April 2021 and July 2022, communist authorities claimed 230,000 nationals were "persuaded to return."

Safeguard Defenders identified two methods frequently used to prompt nationals to return.

First, CCP agents track down a target's family in China "in order to pressure them through means of intimidation, harassment, detention or imprisonment into persuading their family members to return 'voluntarily'."

Second, CCP agents or proxies are dispatched to threaten and harass the target into returning "voluntarily."

For proxies and willing co-conspirators, Freedom House reported last year that communist officials rely upon "a broader framework of influence that encompasses cultural associations, diaspora groups, and in some cases, organized crime networks."

The Safeguard Defenders report stressed that these methods and the stations that may provide support to their executors leave "legal Chinese residents abroad fully exposed to extra-legal targeting by the Chinese police, with little to none of the protection theoretically ensured under both national and international law."

Chinese authorities claim that the hundreds of thousands of people persuaded to return to China were suspected of fraud and telecom fraud; however, there have been recent indications that such intimidation campaigns have been utilized against political dissidents, religious minorities, and refugees fleeing communist oppression.

Growing infrastructure of repression

Pastor Pan Yongguan and 61 Christian congregants belonging to the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church fled China in 2019, seeking refugee from communist persecution. Yongguan's family, who remained in China were penalized as a result of his actions.

Pressure was similarly applied to other congregants' families (e.g., a newborn's legal status was denied by authorities), with the expectation that the expats would return to face charges of treason and "collusion with foreign forces."

Although Yongguan suggested CCP agents were stalking him in Thailand, he has not yet been captured. Other targets of the CCP who fled to countries with closer Chinese ties were, however, quickly apprehended.

For instance, many of the estimated 1,500 ethnic Muslim Uyghurs who were hunted down and detained in the Near East and North Africa have been extradited back to China.

A 2021 Freedom House report stated, "China conducts the most sophisticated, global, and comprehensive campaign of transnational repression in the world." The CCP "targets many groups, including multiple ethnic and religious minorities, political dissidents, human rights activists, journalists, and former insiders accused of corruption."

It may be expedient for the communists to accuse those in these groups instead of fraud, the alleged focus of their foreign police service stations.

Regardless of the accusation, the tactics utilized are the same, ranging from "direct attacks like renditions, to co-opting other countries to detain and render exiles, to mobility controls, to threats from a distance like digital threats, spyware, and coercion by proxy."

American operations

While New York City may be the only known American location of a CCP police service station administered by the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau, there is nevertheless a great deal of communist interference and intimidation nationwide.

In September 2020, NYPD officer and U.S. Army reservist Baimadajie Angwang (of Tibetan descent) was allegedly conscripted by Chinese officials to spy on the Tibetan community in New York City on behalf of the communist regime. He was charged with acting as an illegal agent of the CCP as well as committing wire fraud, making false statements, and obstructing an official proceeding.

In October 2020, eight illegal Chinese agents were charged for surveilling, locating, and intimidating targets of the CCP. They intended to coerce their targets back to China, where "they would face certain imprisonment or worse following illegitimate trials."

On July 7, five men including one current and one former Department of Homeland Security agent, Craig Miller and Derrick Taylor, were indicted for crimes related to a communist Chinese transnational repression scheme to silence critics of the regime.

On September 26, a Chinese national, 31-year-old Ji Chaoqun, was found guilty of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government. The former U.S. Army reservist had informed on individuals targeted for recruitment to the Jiangsu Province Ministry of State Security. These individuals included other Chinese nationals operating as engineers and scientists in the U.S.

Governments looking the other way

The Globe and Mail reported that one of the three CCP stations allegedly operating in Toronto was the office belonging to the Canada Toronto FuQing Business Association. This association was reportedly "established 'under the guidance' of a number of Chinese and Fujianese government organizations, including a municipal committee of the United Front Work Department, the body that projects the Chinese Communist Party's influence overseas."

It remains unclear whether these alleged communist police service stations operate "with the imprimatur or even knowledge of the host government."

Camille Boily-Lavoie, a spokesman for the RCMP, told the Globe that the federal police force was aware that "foreign states may seek to intimidate or harm communities or individuals within Canada."

According to the National Post, dissidents targeted by the CCP have long warned Canadian authorities of organized harassment by communist agents.

Canadian critics of the CCP's genocide of Uyghurs in Xinjiang have been targeted by CCP proxies in harassment campaigns.

Cherie Wong, for instance, faced rape and death threats from communist activists in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Wong indicated that critics of the CCP and its murderous policies can expect their family members back in China to get a threatening "tea visit" from Chinese officials.

Chinese dissident Shen Xue, who moved to Canada fleeing communist persecution, was allegedly threatened by CCP agents in Toronto. "I thought that I escaped from the fear," she said. "But I realized that they are here, their people, their network, their power, and everything is here."

In light of a cabinet letter, the House of Commons is reportedly "aware that foreign states, including the People's Republic of China or its proxies, may attempt to harass, threaten and intimidate Canadians, persons residing in Canada or their families, in Canada or abroad."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who publicly stated that he admired China's "basic dictatorship," was warned last year by Canada's spy agency that the communist Chinese interference campaigns "have become normalized."

The Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China called the Trudeau government's response to communist interference and influence campaigns weak and "piecemeal at best, and, more often, unsatisfactory and ineffective at identifying and addressing the sources of these violations."

The group stated that "many individuals fear that Chinese government or consular agents are monitoring their speech or their activities. ... Chinese state actors have almost certainly become emboldened by the inadequate responses of Canadian officials."

Charles Burton, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, called the presence of the CCP police stations in Toronto "an outrage."

"Chinese police setting up offices in Canada, then 'persuading' alleged criminals to return to the motherland to face 'justice' — while our own government and security services apparently choose to look the other way — represents a gross violation of Canada's national sovereignty, international law and the norms of diplomacy," he wrote.

Burton added, "China is extending the grip of its Orwellian police state into this country."

It's not just Canada that has permitted CCP agents to put up shop.

According to the Italian publication Il Foglio, there is a "Fuzhou Overseas Police Station" in the Tuscan city of Prato. Some Chinese expats reportedly use the station as an alternative to a legitimate Italian court, much like the Sharia law courts that operate extralegally in Britain.

The communist-linked police station is reportedly "not of particular concern" to the real Italian police because it "only deals with administrative practices and not public security."

According to the Safeguard Defenders report, there are communist Chinese-linked police stations in the following British, European, and Balkan countries: The Netherlands; Ireland; Portugal; Czech Republic; Hungary; Italy; France; Germany; Slovakia; Austria; Ukraine; Serbia; Sweden; Spain; Scotland; England; and Greece.

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