Why is the topic relevant? The human rights organization Safeguard Defenders has managed to uncover a global network of Chinese police stations that has been built more or less in secret not only in dozens of Western countries from Britain to the Netherlands, but also in North America. The organisation’s report lists more than 30 suspected offices outside China, including their public phone numbers and addresses. The list also revealed that two such facilities are located in Prague. Beijing has tried to downplay the report, arguing that much of their work consists only of providing services to Chinese residents or tourists. But evidence now shows that one station in Madrid, for example, is actively working with Chinese domestic police to engage in covert and illegal police operations in Spain. At the same time, a number of Chinese dissidents in Europe describe how they have been harassed by employees of these authorities. This revelation has triggered a public debate in many countries at the same time. Last week, the Irish Government ordered the closure of such a station in Dublin, and an investigation is under way in the Netherlands into the statements of a 20-year-old dissident who was tracked by the Chinese Government to Europe using these devices.
Why is the current situation a risk for the Czech Republic? Two of these stations are also located in the Czech Republic. From the point of view of the security of the Czech Republic, it is absolutely essential that foreign security agencies, especially those run by the government of a non-democratic state, should not be on its territory without supervision. According to media reports, these police stations work in coordination with an overseas Chinese association run by Communist Party of China entities. Moreover, their operation on foreign territory is contrary to all diplomatic conventions.
How should the Czech Republic proceed? The Czech Government should therefore use its legal means to close these stations as soon as possible, as has already been done in a number of European countries.