by Micaela Burrow and Philip Lenczycki
The U.S. government must immediately investigate and shutter the recently discovered overseas Chinese government police station in New York City for potential violation of U.S. laws, several experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
In 2022, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established secret police stations in over 100 cities around the world to conduct intimidation and harassment operations against overseas Chinese, human rights organization Safeguard Defenders revealed in a September report. While other countries have announced probes into the alleged police stations, the location within American Changle Association — a Chinatown community organization in New York City — continues to operate outside legal boundaries and should be shut down, experts told the DCNF.
“This is a disgrace. How in God’s name could they openly have these communist police stations in our country?” Beau Dietl, a retired NYPD detective and current head of Beau Dietl & Associates private investigation firm, told the DCNF.
“Let’s try and go to Beijing and open up an American police station over there,” Dietl said. “The government of the United States should deal with this and throw them the hell out.”
The police stations, designated as “110 Overseas” — in reference to China’s emergency telephone number — bill themselves as purportedly helping overseas Chinese obtain driver’s licenses, manage dispute resolution and resolve vaguely defined “difficult problems,” according to Chinese media.
However, they also conduct “foreign strike operations” against individuals who run afoul of the CCP through intimidation, blackmail and forcible arrest, according to Safeguard Defenders. The Chinese government claims these operations aim to crack down on drug smuggling and telecommunications fraud.
“There has been a noticeable uptick in incidents where the Chinese government is targeting people on other nations’ soil,” Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch of Idaho, who also serves on the Senate’s intelligence committee, told the DCNF. “This shows the Chinese Communist Party is not afraid to exert its will outside of China, and we should do all that we can to counter this behavior.”
China’s overseas police stations enable the CCP to illegally monitor and oppress dissidents across the globe, Conor Healy, director of government research at the video surveillance research organization IPVM, told the DCNF. “I have met many individuals who have fled China fearing for their lives, who go on to be harassed and threatened in Canada and in the U.S.,” said Healy, who provided testimony on China’s surveillance state during the 2021 Uyghur Tribunal proceedings.
“These things simply should not be allowed to exist,” Healy added.
New York’s 110 Overseas police station remains active, despite 20 members of Congress urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Attorney General Merrick Garland to take action in an October letter.
“We should not allow China to export its coercive and aggressive tactics anywhere in the United States. They most certainly should not be allowed to exercise extraterritorial law enforcement on American soil,” Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado, who signed the letter, said to the DCNF.
“My colleagues and I join other nations in calling for these unlawful activities to be shut down immediately and demand accountability from the Biden Administration as to why they were even allowed in the first place.”
Several countries also raised the alarm after Safeguard Defenders released its report, some announcing formal investigations into the police stations and others demanding the police bureaus suspend operations immediately.
The Netherlands and the U.K. followed suit and made official announcements on Tuesday; the Dutch foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, ordered the shuttering of China’s police stations, NL Times reported, and the U.K. security minister, Tom Tugendhat, announced the government would intensify efforts to prevent the harassment of political dissidents, according to Politico.
Both leaders labeled China’s actions as “unacceptable.”
“You have to ask permission from the host country,” Hoekstra said, according to NL Times, referring to Chinese law enforcement operations within the Netherlands’ borders. “… That has not happened.”
Two people have been arrested and 13 have been charged in three separate cases for allegedly taking part in malign schemes in the U.S. on behalf of China's government. https://t.co/ZqjEmoj78o pic.twitter.com/pxGJ8ZDDRJ
— FBI (@FBI) October 24, 2022
The State Department declined to respond to a DCNF inquiry regarding whether the U.S. would initiate an investigation into China’s police station in New York City. It remains unclear whether the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., or the consulate in New York City notified federal authorities of the police stations, according to the letter from Congress.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the existence of the police stations, instead portraying them as overseas “service centers.”
“Chinese public security authorities strictly observe international law and fully respect the judicial sovereignty of other countries,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Oct. 27.
“I’m outraged. They should have closed this down immediately,” Gordon G. Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” told the DCNF. “The Chinese are aggressive. They’ll do whatever they can get away with, and we have to acknowledge that.”
The Chinese Embassy, New York City Chinese Consulate, America Changle, FBI, Department of Justice, NYPD and several New York and federal lawmakers did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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Micaela Burrow and Philip Lenczycki are reporters at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “American Changle Association” by American Changle Association.