How many secret Chinese police stations are there and what are they for?

How many secret Chinese police stations are there and what are they for?
Illegal Chinese police station in New York could have covert locations in …

Police in various countries are investigating "unofficial police stations", said to be run on behalf of Chinese authorities.

The police stations, that have popped up in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada and US, have been called a cause "of great concern" by Chris Philp, a home office minister.

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What is going on?

Here is everything you need to know about the Chinese police stations:

What are they?

The stations, which are the brainchild of China’s regional public security bureaus, rather than the central government or party, claim to be outposts to help Chinese citizens overseas with administrative issues, such as renewing driving licences.

However, they do not appear to be staffed by actual police officers.

There are also reports of the stations being involved in “persuade to return” operations to get criminal suspects – or dissidents – to return to China.

How many are there?

According to the human rights group Safeguard Defenders, there are 102 overseas police stations in 53 countries on most continents.

How long have they existed?

First in 2016, when the public security bureaus of Nantong and Wenzhou began to launch pilots overseas. They were followed by similar initiatives from the Qingtian authorities in 2018, and more recently, operations run by the Fuzhou public security bureau, which Lu and Chen are accused of working for.

Nantong, Wenzhou, Qingtian and Fuzhou are all cities on or near China’s south-east coast, a region from where huge numbers of Chinese migrants have historically travelled overseas. Most of Europe’s 1.7 million Chinese immigrants come from Wenzhou or Qingtian.

Have there been any arrests over them?

The FBI has arrested two men in New York on behalf of Chinese authorities following a raid on a Fujianese community centre in Chinatown in October 2022. Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping are accused of using the premises to run an “unofficial police station”.

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