15 Sep 2022

Chinese overseas police service stations tied to illegal policing in Madrid and Belgrade

Background: Police in China, in coordination with overseas association of Chinese, run by entities of the Chinese Communist Party, has established a series of overseas police “service stations”, in particular in Europe. In Spain, there are 9 such stations so far uncovered. While much of their work is to simply service Chinese residents, or tourists, evidence from the Chinese government itself now shows that one station in Madrid, has been actively working with Chinese police to engage in covert and illegal policing operations in Spain.

For information on the 110 Overseas police “service stations” in Spain and elsewhere, and the global manhunt to “persuade” targets to return voluntarily, see the full investigation 110 OVERSEAS - Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild.


Madrid overseas police “service station” assists Chinese police in covert operation in Spain

A suspect surnamed Liu, from Qingtian county, Zhejiang province, China, and resident of Spain, was wanted for environmental pollution in China. Liu was successfully persuaded to return to China to surrender on 14 January 2020. The county Procuratorate (prosecutor) back in China worked jointly with the county’s Overseas Chinese Federation (COCF) and Qingtian city Hometown Association of Spain (QHAS). Liu was approached, in Spain, and was “educated’ via staff of the Madrid overseas service station. They then held a video meeting with Liu, the Qingtian Public Security Bureau (the local police in China), the COCF, and QHAS to persuade Liu to return. Source.

A clip of the video meeting shows that the “Qingtian Police – Qiao (overseas Chinese) Station’s Service Center in Madrid” joined together, proving that the Police’s overseas service center in Madrid was tasked with “persuasion to return” of Liu. In addition, the clip also shows that the suspect’s family member back in China was called in by the Procuratorate to join the meeting, sitting beside officials and with a nametag saying “Family Representative” on the desk. Source with video embedded. Additional source.


Belgrade overseas police “service station” assists Chinese police in covert operation in Serbia

A Chinese national named Xia, accused of theft and living in Belgrade, Serbia, was “persuaded to return” to China on 31 October 2018. Xia’s location was identified by the Belgrade overseas police “service station”, run by China’s Qingtian country police. The overseas station in the Serbian capital identified and located Xia, contacted him, and then worked together with Qingtian police in China to carry out “persuasion” via audio and video communication using the WeChat platform. According to the government documents supporting this claim, Xia was, not surprisingly, unwilling to return to China to face prosecution and certain convicted, however, according to government statements after about a week of police communicating with Xia, he changed his mind and “voluntarily” returned to China. Source.

Numerous government notices and documents have specified that family members that refuse to assist the police in "persuasion" operations can face punishment and that family members of Party members and/or State functionaries will be investigated and punished by the internal Party-police the CCDI (Central Commission for Discipline Inspection). SourceSource.

Some 54 such stations, in 30 countries, covering five continents have been uncovered so far. In the summer of 2022, Chinese official statements claimed some 230,000 claimed “fugitives” had been “persuaded to return” between April 2021 and July 2022. Government documents also shows a variety of measures police have been instructed to take, in addition to the long-standing tradition of threatening harassment, detention or even imprisonment of family members back in China for targets that refuse to comply. One such method, outlined in official documentation, is to deny children of the suspect still in China the right to education. These new methods are covered in the new investigation linked above, while use of harassment, detention, and imprisonment has been covered extensively in a prior report, Involuntary Returns.

Safeguard Defenders would like to note that such overseas Chinese diaspora associations can play a positive role in assisting Chinese residents and tourists alike at their location, but as proven above, at least some of them play a far more nefarious role. In addition, many such associations are tied to the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department, one of whose aim is to control Chinese diaspora populations, and finally, few are likely registered to handle a liaison role with the Chinese police, in violation of local regulations for such associations in some countries.