1110: Chinese Sanctions Only Spur More Visits to Taiwan; China’s Secret “Overseas Police Stations”

Dutch Lawmaker: Chinese Sanctions Only Spur More Visits and Increase Solidarity – “Taiwan Is Not to Be Isolated”

The sanctions imposed by the Chinese government have only encouraged more visits to Taiwan by parliamentarians across the world, as their friendship with Taiwan cannot be determined by others, a member of a visiting delegation from the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) said November 3.

Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, a member of the Netherlands House of Representatives, made the remarks at a press conference in Taipei during the IPAC’s 12-member visiting delegation, which arrived Taiwan on November 1.

An outspoken critic of China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Sjoerdsma was banned in March 2021 from entering China, after the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions against four Chinese officials for what it said were their roles in perpetrating Uyghur genocide.

“The EU sanctions people who commit human right violations, but Beijing sanctions people who stand up for human rights, which is not only ironic but a very sad situation,” Sjoerdsma told the news conference on November 3.

The IPAC delegation’s visit to Taiwan sends a message to Beijing in the wake of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 20th National Congress late last month, he said.

“The core message of our visit here is a message of solidarity, to show just after the party congress in Beijing that Taiwan is not to be isolated but that contacts will only increase,” Sjoerdsma said. “We will not be intimidated, and we will be coming over [to Taiwan] more often, and our relations and our friendship are not to be determined by others.”

Sjoerdsma said he and many other Dutch parliamentarians have long been trying to hold substantial dialogue with China, not only on those critical issues but also on matters of mutual interest such as climate change.

Whenever an invitation is extended to Chinese ambassadors to discuss those issues, however, their first response is usually to ask the parliamentarians not to visit Taiwan or speak out about human rights in China, Sjoerdsma said.

IPAC is an international cross-party group of legislators from 29 countries across the world, who are working towards reform on how democratic countries approach China, according to its website.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202211030009
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/11/04/2003788244

First: Confucius Institutes – Now This: China’s Secret “Overseas Police Stations”

China’s law enforcement tactics beyond its borders are under scrutiny after a report revealed dozens of cities in the U.S. and around the world are hosting Chinese overseas police stations.

A pilot program run by the public security bureaus of Fuzhou and Qingtian counties in China has established 54 “overseas police service centers” across five continents, 25 cities and 21 countries as of June 21, 2022, according to Spain-based NGO Safeguard Defenders.

Safeguard Defenders says China’s policing tactics were problematic as they targeted suspects without firmly establishing links to crime or adhering to due process in host countries, chiefly by coercing the family members of alleged fugitives as a means to “persuade” them to return China on their own.

Between April 2021 and July 2022, Chinese authorities arrested 230,000 suspects this way, the majority from Southeast Asia, the NGO said.

In the United States, the report’s open-source data indicated one such Chinese police service center in New York City. In Canada, three were established in Toronto. Most of the Chinese overseas police stations were located in Europe, according to the report.

A concerning factor of these Chinese police operations on foreign soil is Beijing’s targeting of political dissenters and others likely to be subject to persecution once “persuaded” to return China, said the NGO.

“Persuasion to return” allows the Chinese authorities to skip juridical protocol such as protecting the target’s right to a fair trial, it said.

“These operations eschew official bilateral police and judicial cooperation and violate the international rule of law, and may violate the territorial integrity of third countries involved in setting up a parallel policing mechanism using illegal methods,” the report said.

“Abandoning any pretext of due process or the consideration of suspects’ innocence until proven guilty, targeting suspects’ children and relatives in China as ‘guilty by association’ or ‘collateral damage,’ and using threats and intimidation to target suspects abroad, is now itself becoming an endemic problem,” it said.

“Whether the targets are dissidents, corrupt officials or low-level criminals, the problem remains the same: The use of irregular methods — often combining carrots with sticks — against the targeted individual or their family members in China undermines any due process and the most basic rights of suspects,” Safeguard Defenders concluded.

A group of House Republicans expressed their “grave concern” over the report in a letter dated October 7 and addressed it to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“It is deeply troubling that the Chinese government could use these service stations as its long arm policing abroad,” they said.

The service centers “coerce purported Chinese fugitives abroad to return to China to face legal proceedings,” the letter read. “By doing so, China avoids scrutiny on its human rights record in relation to repatriating alleged fugitives overseas by eschewing formal international cooperation mechanisms.”

On the New York City branch in particular, the congressmen requested response to questions including whether the departments of State or Justice had approved the Chinese police presence.

“There should be no room for the Chinese government to exercise extraterritorial law enforcement unilaterally on U.S. soil,” they said.

[1] Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/china-overseas-police-service-center-new-york-city-crime-1753242