Report: China Illegally Monitoring Political Opponents in Israel

The People’s Republic of China has established ad hoc police stations in countries across the world to expand its ability to silence dissidents and critics abroad, or even forcibly bring them back to China, a Spanish human rights group says

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Police in China.
Police in China.Credit: Anthony Kwan / AP

China established an illegal police station in Israel designed to monitor regime opponents in the country, according to a new report by the Spanish human rights organization Safeguard Defenders. According to the report, which was published on Monday, the station that operates in Israel was opened on behalf of the police of the city of Nantong in southeastern China.

In a report published by the Spanish human rights organization in September, it was claimed that China established 54 police stations in 21 countries, including Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, which operated ostensibly for administrative purposes, but in reality were intended to “convince” regime opponents to return to China.

According to Safeguard Defenders, the People’s Republic of China has used such overseas stations to expand its ability to silence dissidents and critics abroad and “harass, threaten, intimidate and force targets to return to China for persecution” and “while these are not directly run by central authorities, some statements and policies are starting to show a clearer guidance from the central government in encouraging their establishment and policies.”

Xi Jinping’s regime is forcibly bringing back Chinese citizens suspected of corruption who’ve fled the country, a practice which targets anyone seen as a threat, Safeguard Defenders said in a previous report released earlier this year.

According to the group, China has targeted persons suspected of corruption and economic crimes as well as groups targeted by the regime – such as the country’s Uyghur minority and the Falun Gong – and others perceived by Beijing as threats.

One method used is to threaten family members who remained in China and subject them to intense pressure so that they will persuade loved ones who fled to return home.

Another means is by applying direct pressure on those who escaped – either by sending them threatening messages in their current country of residence or by means of agents who actually approach them there.

A third method is to kidnap the “fugitives” from the country where they have found asylum or to lure them to a different country and seize them there. In some cases the aim is to get them to enter a country that has a valid extradition treaty with China, or they are simply arrested without an orderly legal procedure.

“We monitor Chinese data and in April came across information from the ministry of public information which showed that 210,000 people were persuaded to return in just one year,” a representative of Safeguard Defenders told The Guardian.

The Chinese Government claims that the stations are “service centers” which provide Chinese citizens abroad with consular services like passport or driver’s license renewal. Chinese dissidents residing in The Netherlands told the Dutch media station RTL and the independent news service Follow the Money that the Chinese offices within Holland, that until now were unknown to Dutch authorities, were also being used for surveillance and intimidation.

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