Netherlands orders closure of 'illegal Chinese police stations' in Amsterdam and Rotterdam

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By Euronews  with AFP
The entrance of the China embassy in the Netherlands in The Hague.
The entrance of the China embassy in the Netherlands in The Hague.   -   Copyright  BART MAAT / ANP / AFP, FILE

The Netherlands has demanded the closure of two "illegal police stations" that China has reportedly set up in the country. 

According to media reports, Beijing has been operating "posts" in Amsterdam and Rotterdam since 2018 to monitor dissidents.

China has denied the allegations. 

NGOs have claimed that the "police stations" use former military and intelligence officers to silence political opponents, instead of offering recognised diplomatic services.

"[We] have asked the Chinese ambassador for full clarification on the so-called police service stations carrying out tasks in the Netherlands on behalf of the Chinese government," Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra wrote on Twitter.

"As no permission was sought from the Netherlands for this, the ministry has informed the ambassador that the stations must close immediately," he added.

"In addition, the Netherlands itself is also investigating the stations to find out their exact activities."

Beijing has denied allegations, stating the claims about illegal police stations are "completely false".

"Chinese public security stations ... strictly abide by international law and fully respect the judicial sovereignty of other countries," Chinese Foreign affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said last week.

"The organisations you mentioned are not police stations or police service centres," ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

"Their activities are to assist local Chinese citizens who need to apply for expired driver's license renewal online, and activities related to physical examination services by providing the venue."

"We hope that the parties concerned do not make unreasonable claims," he added.

In September, the Spanish NGO Safeguard Defenders reported that at least 36 Chinese "police stations" have been set up in European countries, including France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

A fresh investigation by RTL Nieuws and the investigative journalism platform Follow the Money confirmed that two of these posts were operating in the Netherlands.

According to RTL, one "police station" in Amsterdam was opened by police in the eastern Chinese region of Lishui, while another in Rotterdam is operated by the city of Fuzhou.

Authorities in Germany, Ireland, and Spain have also opened investigations into alleged "Chinese police stations".