Monday, 28 Nov 2022

A brazen intrusion: Chinas foreign police stations raise hackles in Canada

A brazen intrusion: Chinas foreign police stations raise hackles in Canada


A brazen intrusion: Chinas foreign police stations raise hackles in Canada

At a strip mall convenience store sandwiched between a hotpot restaurant and hair salon on the outskirts of Toronto, a clerk serves a steady flow of customers on a drizzly autumn morning.

In an office park a few miles away, a travel agent sorts through passports, arranging visas and booking tickets for her Chinese clientele.

And on a quiet street in a nearby suburb, a resident has grown frustrated that he and his family have been roped into an international row over a supposed network of clandestine Chinese police stations.

"I don't know what this is all about," the man said. "There's some kind of mistake. We have nothing to do with this. Look around. This is just a house."

All three addresses have been linked to a purported network of unsanctioned and illegal Chinese "police stations" around the world, used to exert pressure on exiles and expatriates.

The allegations came after a string of cases around the world in which China has been accused of overstepping diplomatic and legal norms to persecute its citizens far beyond its borders.In a report released last month, the Madrid-based NGO Safeguard Defenders detailed 54 alleged Chinese police stations around the world, prompting authorities in a number of countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and Canada, to launch police investigations.

"It's crazy how brazen they've become with these operations," said Laura Harth of Safeguard Defenders. "The message from the ministry of foreign affairs - that you are not safe anywhere, that we can find you and that we can get to you - is very effective."

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