China accused of using ‘secret police’ facility in Glasgow

China accused of using ‘secret police’ facility in Glasgow

Safeguard Defenders, a non-governmental organization based in Spain, has released a report stating that public security bureaus in two Chinese provinces have established a global network of outposts who carry out “persuasion operations” to force dissidents to return to China.

The report claim (it is there are 54 “overseas policing centers” located in 21 countries on five continents, including two in London and one in Glasgow. According to Safeguard Defenders, these overseas stations are often integrated into Chinese community associations in their respective countries.

What are the centers for?

Safeguard Defenders condition that the centers are part of a massive international campaign aimed at combating the growing problem of fraud and law violations committed by Chinese citizens living outside of China.

Chinese authorities say that between April 2021 and July 2022, approximately 230,000 Chinese citizens were “persuaded to return” to China to face criminal charges there. The group adds that this campaign, which began on a small scale in 2018, has been developed alongside the establishment of Chinese police “filling stations” abroad.

The document suggests that a popular Glasgow restaurant is a center

A document showing the location of several of these centers, initially released by the Chinese authorities and reviewed this morning, suggests that the Glasgow-based unit is located on Sauchiehall Street at the same address as a well-known Chinese restaurant.

417-419 Sauchiehall Street is identified on a list of stations.

Safeguard Defenders says there is no comprehensive list of these “overseas 110,” named after the Chinese emergency phone number, available police service stations. The initial list, along with additional stations identified by Safeguard Defenders through the Chinese government announcement above, provides a clue as to how widespread these stations may be.

The gas stations featured in this list are those operated by the Fuzhou and Qingtian Police Departments. However, an earlier announcement by the government indicated that similar work had begun in ten provinces; consequently, it is safe to assume that the list of such stations is much longer than can be presented here.

popular centers.

Today I visited the supposed location of the center of Glasgow. I went to his door and even though there appeared to be staff members inside, no one responded to my question as to whether the allegations were true.

I called the number stamped on his front door. After almost ringing, to my surprise, a man answered the phone. I asked if he or the company had any comment on whether the allegations were true. He told me that he couldn’t hear me, and I repeated it, twice, then he hung up.

Others had better luck, “There are no secret police here”, a spokesman told the Times.

What have the centers been used for?

The report cites an incident that took place in July 2022 in which the government of Wenchang city, Hainan province, issued a notice to release the names and photos of Wenchang residents who are “illegally staying in northern China”. Myanmar” and warned them to return.

If they did not contact their local police stations by August 10, 2022:

“(1) Their spouses, parents and children would be suspended from receiving subsidies such as critical illness insurance and health insurance subsidies;

(2) their children would be disqualified from entering urban schools once the parents did not appear together for enrollment interviews or apply for admission jointly;

(3) His immediate family would be blocked in principle from joining the Party and the army, and from taking the exams to become civil servants or employees of state-owned enterprises;

(4) Real estate purchased with his ill-gotten money would be evicted and auctioned off, any staff installed on the property would be forcibly evicted, and houses built with stolen money would be demolished.”

the report adds that this was done even though no crimes were committed.

“Although none of those attacked had been convicted of any crime, and despite previous warnings from Xinhua that such actions would paint relatives, children and family members as guilty by association, collateral punishment remained a key part of the crime. the ‘persuasion to return’. operation.”

No due process as a means to circumvent international treaties

The report concludes by explaining that whether the targets are dissidents, corrupt officials or low-level criminals, “the problem remains the same, the use of irregular methods” that “often combine carrots with sticks, against the targeted individual or their relatives”. in China undermines any due process and the most basic rights of suspects. The described treatment of targets, their families, and even the community at large as criminal suspects, in some cases even in the absence of an allegation of fact.”

In addition, the disregard for the use of proper channels and processes in international relations occurs despite China’s insistence on the establishment of bilateral extradition treaties or other judicial cooperation mechanisms.

“This methodology also allows them to circumvent firmly established international principles, such as the non-repeal principle of non-refoulement under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the United Nations Convention on the Protection of Refugees, or the guarantees established under international mechanisms such as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols”.

The First Minister has spoken to Police Scotland about the matter.

Greens MSP Ross Greer asked the Prime Minister about the allegations today in Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon replied:

“I agree that these reports are deeply concerning and I want to make it very clear that we take them very seriously. Any foreign country doing business in Scotland must comply with Scottish law. The Scottish Government fully supports people’s rights to free speech, free speech and that too is an extremely important principle. Obviously, these matters require a full and proper investigation and it would not be appropriate for me to go into too much detail, but I know this, and I know this as a result of a conversation I had with the chief of police yesterday: that the police are aware of these reports . Of course, the police are operationally independent and it will be up to them to determine what investigations would be appropriate, but they are aware of this, and I repeat that these reports need to be treated extremely seriously.”

An investigation must be launched to protect people in the UK

The China Inquiry Group of MPs in Westminster urged the UK government to investigate these claims.

“The Home Office should launch an investigation to shed more light on the activities of these police stations and whether they are operating illegally in the UK. A Chinese government official reportedly admitted the role of these stations in “pressuring criminals” to return to China. These ‘criminals’ could be Hong Kongers, Uyghurs, dissidents, or indeed anyone else who has dared to criticize the Chinese Communist Party. The governments of the US, Canada, Spain, Ireland, Germany and now the Netherlands are conducting formal investigations. It is important that we do not become an international laggard in dealing with this type of malign interference.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office told me:

“Reports of undeclared ‘police stations’ in the UK are of course very worrying and will be taken very seriously. Any foreign country operating on UK soil must comply with UK law. The protection of people in the UK is of paramount importance and any attempt to illegally repatriate any person will not be tolerated.”

It is unclear what, if anything, will be done. But at least for now the wheels seem to be turning on this affront to Scotland’s values ​​and ideals of respect, freedom, equality, dignity and justice.

This first appeared in Bylines Scotland, You can see the original here.

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