Monday, December 4, 2023

China’s overseas police stations supported by Nigeria, other host nations: Report

China has been accused of coercing more than 230,000 of its nationals, via the overseas police stations, to return to their country and face criminal prosecution.

• December 5, 2022
Chinese overseas police stations
Chinese overseas police stations Photo Credit; The Irish Times

Pan-Asian Human Rights organisation Safeguard Defenders has published a new report accusing Nigeria and other countries of collaborating with China in its transnational policing adventure in violation of the ‘international rules-based order.’ 

The report titled ‘Patrol and Persuade’ was a follow-up on its earlier investigation, which accused China of persuading more than 230,000 Chinese nationals to return to their country voluntarily, using extreme measures such as arresting China-based relatives of the individual, denying their children education, and finding them guilty by association. 

The new report, Patrol and Persuade, says that Nigeria, among other host nations, agree to China’s transnational policing without due process and protection mechanisms. 

“Safeguard Defenders and other human rights organisations have frequently denounced the complicity of certain governments in the repatriation of individuals to the People’s Republic of China without regard for internationally established standards of due process and protection mechanisms. 

“In this regard, while the establishment of overseas outposts with the consent of the host country and the cooperation of that outpost with the local law enforcement agencies may indeed provide a useful service to both communities, they are a reason for severe concern and – much like bilateral extradition treaties – these agreements should put those most at risk from PRC persecution on high alert when considering travel to those countries,” the report read in part. 

The report further accused China of abusing multilateral cooperation agreements on the strength of statements made by the Safeguard Defenders and other organisations. 

“The abuse of multi- or bilateral cooperation agreements by the PRC is not a novel feature. Safeguard Defenders and other organisations have frequently denounced the ongoing abuse of international policing cooperation mechanisms such as INTERPOL or the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to both instil a wider sense of fear within dissident and other persecuted communities, as well as to legitimise the PRC’s domestic judicial system despite its blatant violations of internationally recognised norms and standards. 

“Of particular concern in this regard are also bilateral agreements between national law enforcement and PRC actors, as these may dissuade those targeted by illicit operations from reporting. In addition, they often enhance local law enforcement’s sense of trust in their PRC counterparts, especially if not instructed on the rapidly expanding use and means of transnational repression,” the report added. 

While there is no evidence to support this claim, the report also said that China has set up a new police station in Nigeria which seconds the one it reported as situated in Benin City in its original investigation. 

Muyiwa Adejobi, Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force, did not respond to multiple calls and text messages seeking clarifications on the existence of the Chinese police stations and their activities.

However, the Chinese Embassy has repeatedly denied the existence of such stations, saying the report by the Safeguard Defenders is fake news. 

In October, Zhang Hang, spokesperson for the embassy said that “There is no such station in Nigeria or everywhere.”

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