Efforts of Chinese police to build connections in foreign countries have been growing for decades, but the issue reached peak salience in the Netherlands in 2022 when local news media reported that Chinese “police service stations” were operating on Dutch soil. That fall, news organizations around the world were pursuing stories that highlighted the findings of a report authored by a human rights non-governmental organization (NGO), Safeguard Defenders. The report presented evidence of Chinese police service stations in at least 29 countries across five continents, sparking concern among some governments about the purpose and intent of the stations.
This report by Suzanne Scoggins, Associate Professor of Political Science at Clark University, provides insight into the functions and purpose of the overseas police stations and delves further into the role of Chinese policing efforts in the Netherlands and abroad. It provides an overview of the relevant history of policing in China, outlines the current organization of policing groups under the Ministry of Public Security, and explains the different security organizations within the Chinese government that interact with the police. Finally the report highlights three case studies of Chinese policing efforts abroad, in South Africa, Italy and the United States.
The research for and production of this report has been conducted within the framework agreement for the Chinese Knowledge Network (CKN). The aim of CKN is to promote strategic knowledge development about China for the national government of the Netherlands. Responsibility for the contents and for the opinions expressed, rests solely with the authors and does not constitute, nor should be construed as, an endorsement by the secretariat of the Chinese Knowledge Network and/or the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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