Dutch Foreign Ministry investigates reports that China allegedly set up two illegal police stations in the Netherlands Dutch Foreign Ministry investigates reports that China allegedly set up two illegal police stations in the Netherlands



CNN

The Dutch Foreign Ministry is “investigating” China’s alleged establishment of two illegal police stations in the Netherlands.

“We are investigating the activities of these so-called police centers,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maxine Hovenkamp told CNN in a statement on Thursday.

Hovenkamp added that the ministry did not “inform about these centers through diplomatic channels”.

China has denied that the centers conduct police operations.

Dutch broadcaster RTL Nieuws and Dutch investigative journalist Follow the Money published a report on Tuesday that China has opened at least two police stations in the Netherlands since 2018. Both stations are in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

The stations operate under the facade of “overseas service stations” where Chinese citizens can renew their driver’s licenses and report changes in their marital status, according to RTL Nieuws and Follow the Money.

According to RTL Nieuws and Follow the Money, the Dutch government was never informed of the presence of these stations.

Their investigation found “strong indications” that the horns are being used to pressure Chinese dissidents in the Netherlands. A young Chinese dissident, Wang Jingyu, who has been persecuted by Chinese authorities for criticizing the regime on social media, told reporters he received a call from someone claiming to be from a Chinese police station in Rotterdam.

“He asked me to go back to China to solve my problems. He also told me to think about my parents,” said Wenbin.

At a briefing at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, spokesman Wang Wenbin was asked whether China had conducted a police operation in the Netherlands and had a response to the RTL Nieuws and Follow the Money report.

In response to these questions, Wenbin said the allegations in the report were “completely false” and that the alleged police stations are “actually Chinese service centers”.

“The purpose of the service centers is to help overseas Chinese citizens in need access the platform to renew their driver’s license and undergo a physical examination,” the spokesperson added.

The human rights group Safeguard Defenders published a report in September citing the evidence of these gas stations in several countries, which it believes “rejects official bilateral police and judicial cooperation and may violate the territorial integrity of third countries involved in the establishment of an illegal parallel police mechanism. methods”.

The report included a map of more than 50 publicly documented and labeled police stations, designated by China as overseas Chinese “service centers,” located around the world. Since its publication, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior has launched an investigation into the gas stations and the results of the report.

Meanwhile, Dutch authorities say they will “decide on the appropriate course of action” once they get “more clarity on the matter,” the statement said.