The People’s Republic of China has opened at least three police stations on Canadian soil as part of an alleged attempt by the country’s security state to keep an eye on the Chinese-Canadian diaspora.
Three addresses in Toronto are known to be registered as “service stations” operated by the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau, a police force active in the Chinese metropolis of Fuzhou.
The revelations were contained in a newly published report by the Asian human rights group Safeguard Defenders.
China maintains that the stations exist simply to assist expats in completing administrative tasks such as renewing driver’s licences.
Safeguard Defenders holds that the stations function mainly as outposts for the Chinese policy of “Involuntary Return” – a program of compelling Chinese nationals to return home whenever the country’s security service deems that they’ve violated Chinese law. “These operations eschew official bilateral police and judicial cooperation,” they wrote.
In just the last year, reported the group, Chinese authorities have claimed that 230,000 of their expats have been “persuaded to return” on various charges. According to Safeguard Defenders, these returns are often obtained by visiting extreme sanctions on the families of those targeted, such as asset seizures and prohibition from seeking government health care or education.