China Accused of Illegal Police Stations in the Netherlands

On Wednesday, the Dutch foreign ministry announced that it has opened a probe into allegations that China has set up two illegal police stations in the Netherlands, vowing to take the claims — which Beijing has denied — "seriously."

China Accused of Illegal Police Stations in the Netherlands
Image credit: EPA [via The Guardian]

Facts

  • On Wednesday, the Dutch foreign ministry announced that it has opened a probe into allegations that China has set up two illegal police stations in the Netherlands, vowing to take the claims — which Beijing has denied — "seriously."
  • This comes as Dutch media have allegedly gathered evidence that at least two Chinese "overseas service stations," meant to provide diplomatic services, are being used to try and silence Chinese dissidents in Europe.
  • An investigation by RTL Nieuws and Follow the Money claimed that centers in Amsterdam and Rotterdam were tracking, contacting, and threatening political opponents.
  • The Rotterdam station allegedly asked a Chinese man named Wang Jingyu — who reportedly fled to the Netherlands after being followed by police in China for speaking out against the regime — to "go back to China" to solve his problems and to consider his family.
  • The two Chinese centers have been operating since 2018 but reportedly haven't been registered with the Dutch government. In September, Spain-based human rights group Safeguard Defenders claimed that Beijing had illegally established at least 36 "police stations" across Europe.
  • Both China and the Netherlands have signed the Vienna Convention, which sets that consulates must deal with administrative issues. In response, the Chinese embassy in The Hague claimed not to be aware of the so-called police stations.

Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC News, Guardian, Politico, Euro, and Dutch.

Narratives

  • Anti-China narrative, as provided by NL Times. While Chinese presence on Dutch soil was already feared, these findings prove that it's even worse than anticipated. The Dutch government must immediately close these illegal police stations and halt their activities as a message to Beijing that its infiltration into the country to promote repression against Chinese dissidents won't be tolerated.
  • Pro-China narrative, as provided by Global Times. There's a very simple explanation for these diplomatic service stations: Given China's strict COVID-related travel restrictions, the CCP set up help centers beyond typical embassies to provide its citizens abroad with more access to services. The latest allegations have failed to turn up concrete evidence and are nothing more than Western lies being used to peddle hatred toward China.