On Wednesday, the Dutch government announced that it was examining accusations that Chinese law enforcement agencies operate unlawfully in the Netherlands without Dutch knowledge or approval in order to regulate Chinese residents abroad.
The Chinese embassy in the Netherlands stated that it was unaware and not involved with the offices referred to in the claims.
The Chinese embassy in the Netherlands stated that it was unaware and not involved with the offices referred to in the claims. It stated, “China’s judicial and law enforcement authorities strictly abide by international laws and fully respect the judicial sovereignty of other countries.
The discussion occurred after the Dutch broadcaster RTL Nieuws and the investigative journalism organization Follow the Money published a story on Tuesday regarding two Chinese operations established in Amsterdam and Rotterdam apart from the country’s embassy and consulates.
The Dutch government did not expressly confirm the offices’ existence. However, it was never told about them, which would make them illegal, according to Maxime Hovenkamp, a spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who said the development is really worrying for the Dutch government.
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The study adds to the growing body of evidence that the Chinese government is establishing overseas operations to frighten and monitor Chinese nationals. The Canadian government announced on Wednesday that it is examining similar Chinese operations in Canada, saying that it takes threats to the security of Canadian citizens “extremely seriously.”
Laura Harth, campaign director for Safeguard Defenders, a human rights organization whose own report last month on the stations in the Netherlands prompted the Dutch news media investigation, stated that “This is really part of a growing transnational campaign to instill the same regime of political terror inside China across the world,” The group asserts that Chinese police agencies have built dozens of overseas operations, including in New York, Paris, London, Madrid, and Toronto.
These Chinese “service stations” have the dual purpose of assisting the Chinese diaspora abroad with administrative tasks such as passport renewals and bank deposits, as well as “resolutely cracking down on all kinds of illegal and criminal activities related to overseas Chinese people,” according to a statement from the Beijing government’s central political and legal affairs commission, which oversees the police.
But according to the Vienna Convention, an international deal signed by both China and the Netherlands, consulates are responsible for administrative concerns.
According to Safeguard Defenders and Dutch news reports, the police in the Eastern Chinese cities of Fuzhou and Lishui, where many members of the Chinese diaspora are from, supervise the stations in the Netherlands. According to news reports, the Amsterdam operation has existed since 2018, while the Rotterdam operation involves a former member of the Chinese military.
The group described a broader effort by the Chinese government to tackle alleged telecom and online fraud by pressing Chinese residents abroad to return home and face prosecution. From April 2021 until July of this year, 230,000 Chinese nationals were convinced to return to face criminal charges, according to state-run media.
According to rights groups, “persuasion to return” involves physically engaging individuals or their relatives in China, and the claimed offences might include political dissent.
Ms. Harth stated, that it is such a flagrant escalation and violation of territorial sovereignty and hope that democratic nations will coordinate their activities jointly.
Legislators in a number of nations, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, have expressed concern that the Chinese government is exerting pressure on Chinese nationals abroad, particularly political dissidents who have sought asylum in these nations.
According to Dutch press sources, at least one outspoken Chinese dissident has described feeling threatened by Chinese operatives claiming to be from overseas agencies.
Wang Jingyu, a political dissident who fled to the Netherlands after publicly criticizing the Chinese government online, reported receiving death threats for his support of democracy in Hong Kong.
In one incident earlier this year, Mr. Wang reported receiving a call from an individual purporting to be from the Chinese foreign office in Rotterdam, urging him to return to China and consider his parents.
Mr. Wang stated that he had reported the threats to the local Dutch police, but he still felt frightened.
“I’m afraid of the Chinese government,” he told RTL news, adding that he feared the government would send agents to kill him. “I don’t know in the future what they will do.”
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