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U.S. Embassy in Ankara alerted to potential threats of terrorism and kidnappings

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The U.S. Embassy in Turkey on Friday issued a warning that there could be potential terrorist attacks against American citizens and other foreign nationals in the capital city of Ankara, telling them to take precautionary measures.

“The U.S. Mission in Turkey has received credible reports of potential terrorist attacks and kidnappings against U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in Istanbul, including against the U.S. Consulate General, as well as potentially other locations in Turkey,” the security alert read.

The security alert told American citizens currently in Turkey to exercise caution by avoiding crowds, monitoring local media for news updates, and staying alert in areas “where Americans or foreigners may gather, including large office buildings or shopping malls.”

A State Department spokesperson told this reporter that the U.S. Mission to Turkey issued this security alert “as a result of our ongoing assessment of security conditions” and that the “statement speaks for itself” when asked about the validity of these reported threats.

U.S. embassies and consulates in foreign nations publish security alerts whenever there is a need to inform U.S. citizens who are abroad of “specific events and changes happening locally, in real time,” the spokesperson emphasized.

Moreover, they said that the information used to devise alerts is assembled from a vast swath of sources. These sources include “crime statistics and other publicly-available information, information gathered from U.S. government sources, as well as assessments by our embassies and consulates.”

As for the Turkish government and how they fit into this situation, the spokesperson expressed gratitude for its assistance with this security matter.

“We are grateful for the support of the Turkish government in ensuring the safety of U.S. citizens living in Turkey,” they said, “as well as Turkish citizens who visit our Embassy and Consulates.”

The security and safety of State Department personnel in foreign countries has been a high priority since the mishandling of the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities and personnel in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The State Department and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were eviscerated for not taking the necessary security precautions when there had been reports of potential threats to the U.S. Mission in Libya prior to the attacks. 10 investigations were conducted into this infamous episode in U.S. foreign policy.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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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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