Netherlands Demands China Close Two Illegal Police Stations

In a move echoing alarm in other parts of the world, Dutch authorities demanded that China immediately close two police stations operating in the country to monitor and oppress dissidents.

The Netherlands’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wopke Hoekstra, posted on Twitter this week that the Chinese ambassador was informed of the government’s action regarding stations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

A September report from the Spanish human rights group Safeguard Defenders revealed that China operates at least 38 of these so-called “service stations” in dozens of countries on five continents.

Hoekstra declared that permission has never been asked for from the Netherlands or received by Chinese authorities. The European government asked the Chinese ambassador “for full clarification” and information on the “precise activities” carried out at the two locations.

For its part, China’s Foreign Ministry said the stations are manned by enthusiastic volunteers from the Chinese community and are not linked to China’s police.

Last month, Chinese spokesperson Wang Wenbin asserted that the allegations of foreign police stations are false. He claimed they are merely service centers “to help overseas Chinese nationals” with drivers license renewals and obtaining physical examinations.

He added that China hopes that foreign governments “do not make unreasonable claims.”

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning defended Chinese security officials as operating in strict observance of international law. She further declared that Beijing respects “the judicial sovereignty of other countries.”

However, a Chinese dissident in Rotterdam countered these claims. Wang Jingyu said he has “solid and clear evidence” that the city’s facility is in fact a Chinese overseas police station.

He said he receives “dozens” of calls a day from an official telephone at the “service station” telling him to “turn myself in, to go back to China.”

The Netherlands is far from the only country concerned about the possible presence of Chinese police in its territory. German authorities are also probing the Safeguard Defenders report.

An Interior Ministry spokesperson confirmed that the country is checking into a possible illegal police station set up in Frankfurt. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is in Beijing for a state visit, and the “service center” is likely to be a topic of discussion.