Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra called the illicit bureaus ‘unacceptable’, and said he had told the Chinese ambassador about the decision
Dutch authorities are to investigate exactly what activities took place in the offices, which operated under the guise of ‘service centres’
November 2, 2022
Dutch Foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra speaks to the media in Luxembourg in October. Photo: EPA-EFE
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra has ordered the immediate closure of illegal police offices set up by China in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, according to media reports from Tuesday.
Hoekstra said he had informed the Chinese ambassador of this decision, according to a report by the Dutch news agency ANP.
He called the police offices “unacceptable”. The Dutch authorities would never have given their consent.
The ministry will now investigate exactly what activities took place in the offices.
The media had reported on the illicit Chinese bureaus last week amid indications that under the guise of these “service centres” the Chinese authorities were putting pressure on dissidents who have fled China.
According to the foreign minister, such offices exist in other European countries as well.
China had stated that its nationals could, for example, extend their driver’s licences at such offices. But even for such consular tasks, the approval of the authorities of the host country is necessary, Hoekstra pointed out. Media reports indicated that the offices were also supposed to facilitate Chinese policing abroad and collect information.
German authorities said last week that they were investigating whether the Chinese government is operating an illegal police station in Frankfurt.
The Irish government said it told China to close a Fuzhou Police Overseas Service Station in Dublin.
And Canada’s federal police are “investigating reports of criminal activity in relation to the so-called ‘police’ stations”, three of which are reportedly operating in Toronto.
Additional reporting by Associated Press and Agence France-Presse