The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is “investigating” reports that China has set up two allegedly illegal police stations in the Netherlands.
“We are investigating the activities of the so-called police center,” Foreign Office spokesman Maxine Hovenkamp said in a statement to CNN on Thursday.
Hovenkamp added that the ministry “has not been informed of these centers through diplomatic channels.”
China denies that the center conducts policing.
Dutch broadcaster RTL Nieuws and Dutch investigative journalism outlet Follow the Money released a report on Tuesday claiming that China has opened at least two police stations in the Netherlands since 2018. Two police stations are Rotterdam and Located in Amsterdam.
According to RTL Nieuws and Follow the Money, the station operates under the guise of an “overseas service station,” where Chinese nationals can renew their driver’s licenses and report changes in citizenship status.
According to RTL Nieuws and Follow the Money, the Dutch government was not informed of the existence of these stations.
Their investigation found “strong indications” that the branch was being used to pressure Chinese dissidents in the Netherlands. Wang Jingyu, a young Chinese dissident who is being pursued by Chinese authorities for criticizing the regime on social media, told journalists he received a call from someone who claimed to be from the Chinese police station in Rotterdam.
“He told me to go back to China to solve my problems. He also told me to think about my parents,” Wenbin said.
At a briefing for China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday, spokesperson Wang Wenbin was asked to confirm whether China was conducting policing in the Netherlands and whether there would be any response to reports by RTL Nieuws and Follow the Money. I got
In response to these questions, Wenbin said the report’s allegations were “completely untrue” and that the police station was “actually a Chinese service center”.
“The purpose of the service center is to assist overseas Chinese in need to access the platform to renew their driver’s licenses and undergo physical examinations,” the spokesperson added.
The human rights group Safeguard Defenders released a report in September citing evidence of these service stations in multiple countries. method.
The report included a map of more than 50 publicly documented and labeled overseas police stations that China calls overseas Chinese “service centers” around the world. Since it was published, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior has launched an investigation into the service stations and the findings of the report.
Dutch authorities, meanwhile, said in a statement that they would “determine the appropriate course of action” as “the matter becomes clearer”.