Chinese police are said to be running an unofficial “police station” in Stockholm. According to the organization Safeguard Defenders, the scheme aims to force Chinese suspects to return home to face trial.Published: October 27, 2022, 06:26 In China, an extensive campaign against telephone and online fraud has been going on for several years, and according to the authorities, many crimes are committed by Chinese living abroad.From the official side it is claimed that hundreds of thousands of criminal suspects have been persuaded to travel back to China and surrender. According to Safeguard Defenders, which maps human rights violations in China, the regime’s tentacles extend far beyond the country’s borders through so-called “police service offices” used to exert pressure on exiled Chinese. In a report released on Wednesday, over 50 police offices in roughly 30 countries are identified. One of them is in Stockholm. According to Safeguard Defenders, the Stockholm office has its address in a hotel in western Stockholm. TT has unsuccessfully sought representatives for the hotel and people connected to the business.The offices identified in the report has since 2018 been established by local police authorities in the cities of Fuzhou and Qingtian in southeastern China. The office in Stockholm is said to be run by the police in Qingtian. The head and founder of Safeguard Defenders is Swede Peter Dahlin. He was arrested in 2016 in Beijing, where he ran the organization China Action. After being forced to confess to alleged espionage on state television, he was released and deported to Sweden. The report, named “110 Overseas” after the Chinese number for emergency calls, is based entirely on public information, according to Dahlin. “All information in our report is from Chinese the state, the police or state media,” he writes in an email to TT. According to Dahlin, the international police offices are staffed by local Chinese who work on behalf of the Chinese police.In many cities, including Stockholm, information is scarce. Elsewhere, such as on a central street in Dublin, there was until recently a public office signposted as “Fuzhou Police Overseas Service Station”. In Chinese media, the activity is said to be of a consular nature, such as helping overseas Chinese to renew their driver’s licenses. But according to Peter Dahlin, there is evidence that they also hunt down alleged criminals. “It is about forcing them back to China to be brought to trial, which the Chinese police in documentation admit is done through threats that relatives will be imprisoned, that children will be denied education and other measures directed at relatives in China”. There is, he says, no evidence that the office in Stockholm engaged in that type of activity. However, he believes that the scale of the business suggests that this is the case.To establish parallels judicial mechanisms in another country of the kind described in the report is a violation of international law. This is stated by Joachim Åhman, professor of international law at the University of Gothenburg. “It sounds like some form of infringement of sovereignty. A fundamental principle of international law is that states may not meddle in each other’s internal affairs,” he says. The Ministry of Justice does not know the information about the police office, and refers further to the Security Police. They do not want to comment on the matter there. “When it comes to our intelligence work and operational work linked to a foreign power, we find it very difficult to say anything at all,” says Fredrik Hultgren-Friberg, press secretary at Säpo.TT has contacted the Chinese embassy for comment.
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