According to the information in a report by the Asian human rights organisation Safeguard Defenders, China is opening police stations in Canada to serve as outposts for China’s Involuntary Return policy.
In an apparent effort by the country’s security state to monitor the Chinese-Canadian diaspora, the People’s Republic of China has opened at least three police stations on Canadian soil.
The Fuzhou Public Security Bureau, a law enforcement agency operating in the Chinese metropolis of Fuzhou, is known to have registered three addresses in Toronto as “service stations” run by the bureau.
The information was revealed in a report (pdf below) that the Asian human rights organisation Safeguard Defenders just released.
China argues that the stations’ sole purpose is to help expats with administrative procedures like renewing their driver’s licences.
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According to Safeguard Defenders, the stations primarily serve as outposts for China’s “Involuntary Return” policy, which compels Chinese citizens to return home anytime the country’s security service determines that they have broken Chinese law. They said that “these operations eschew official bilateral police and judicial cooperation.”
According to the organisation, Chinese officials have asserted that 230,000 of their expats have been “persuaded to return” during the course of the previous year on a variety of charges. Safeguard Defenders claims that in order to get these returns, severe measures are frequently taken against the families of those who are being targeted, including asset seizures and bans on accessing government-funded healthcare and education.
The three locations in Toronto that have been listed as Fuzhou Public Security Bureau stations were visited by a Globe and Mail reporter. The first was a private residence, the second was a mall that was primarily home to Chinese-Canadian businesses, and the third was the location of the Canada Toronto FuQing Business Association, a recognised non-profit.
The Association was established under the direct supervision of the Chinese government, according to The Globe and Mail, and its honorary president has previously hailed Beijing’s initiatives to strengthen its administrative state abroad in order to give expats a sense of “the warmth” of country.
One of more than a dozen countries that now host Chinese law enforcement’s overseas outposts is Canada. An article in The Irish Times this week mentioned the debut of a Fuzhou Overseas Police Service Station in the heart of Dublin.
China’s Ireland Embassy told the publication in remarks that the station was just a venue for Fuzhou expats to complete routine paperwork. “During the past two years, the pandemic made international travels not easy and quite a few Chinese nationals found their Chinese ID cards and/or driver licences expired or about to expire, and yet they could not get the ID renewed back in China in time,” they said.
Dissidents of the Beijing government who reside in Canada have long warned Canadian officials that they will be subjected to systematic persecution by Chinese authorities. The People’s Republic of China critic Sheng Xue, who is based in Mississauga, was the target of persistent cyberattacks and defamation efforts in 2019. She was covered by the New York Times in 2019.
“I thought I’d have a safe, happy life in Canada,” Sheng told the Times of her 1989 escape from China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. But the Chinese Communist Party, she added, “was already here.”
Read the report given below: