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China Orders U.S. To Close Consulate In Retaliation For Houston Closure

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The Chinese Communist government has told the U.S. to close its consulate in Chengdu, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday. The order was given the same day that the U.S. has asked China to close its Houston, Texas consulate.

“The current situation in China-US relations is not what China desires to see, and the US is responsible for all this. We once again urge the US to immediately retract its wrong decision and create necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.

Earlier this week, a fire broke out in China’s Houston Consulate. Many suspect Chinese officials were burning documents in the building’s courtyard. According to witnesses, law enforcement and fire officials never entered the building and the fire mysteriously went out on its own. Soon after, the U.S. ordered the consulate’s speedy closure, giving employees 72 hours to vacate the building.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the Chinese Communist Party in a speech from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California. Speaking before U.S. officials and Chinese dissidents, Pompeo expressed the need to change our engagement strategy when it comes to China.

Pompeo explained, “My experience in the House Intelligence Committee, and then as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and my now two-plus years as America’s Secretary of State have led me to this central understanding:”

“That the only way – the only way to truly change communist China is to act not on the basis of what Chinese leaders say, but how they behave,” he added. “And you can see American policy responding to this conclusion. President Reagan said that he dealt with the Soviet Union on the basis of ‘trust but verify.’ When it comes to the CCP, I say we must distrust and verify.”

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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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