In addition to the one Chinese police station in Sydney that has drawn public concern recently, one more contact point linked to Beijing has been identified in Australia, according to a new report by the international human rights group Safeguard Defenders.
The “service centre” is among 48 Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-operated illegal police outputs globally that have been newly publicized by the Spain-based human rights NGO, which had earlier identified 54 such outposts, bringing the total number to 102 with a presence in 53 countries.
These outputs, in different names and under the surface of serving overseas Chinese, can be used by the communist regime to “harass, threaten, intimidate, and force targets to return to China for persecution.”
While the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) revealed in October that one of the “contact points” was in Sydney, The Epoch Times has found the address of the second one, which is operated by the local public security authority of Nantong City, Jiangsu Province in China.
The “overseas police service station” is located in Birchgrove Cres Eastwood in Sydney, according to a contact list of Nantong police’s overseas service stations in 2016. The contact list is in Mandarin and can still be accessed online.
The Epoch Times called the number of the Sydney service centre listed on the webpage, but the call could not be connected.
An officer at Nantong Public Security Bureau in China also told The Epoch Times that they don’t currently have any police service centre in Sydney. The officer avoided answering if they used to have any of these centres in Australia in the past.
“Just contact the embassy,” she said.
Local Australian Chinese Worry About CCP Police Presence
The potential existence of a CCP-operated police station in Eastwood, one of the biggest Chinese communities in Sydney, has raised concerns of some Chinese Australians living in the suburb.
“Absolutely terrifying,” Leechen Zhang, a Chinese Australian, said. “All of a sudden, I heard a police point [is] just two kilometres away from me. That’s very scary.”
Zhang, who escaped the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong, a meditation practice combined with moral teachings, said the Chinese police are different from police in democratic countries.
“[Their] functions are different,” she said. “This control and supervision by the police assist the [Chinese] government to suppress the people.”
Joey Huang, a coordinator of the Falun Gong practice site in Eastwood, also was concerned that the CCP police presence in the suburb could have had some connection with interference the group has experienced in the past.
Huang also referred to an incident in the city council election last year, in which fake election flyers were distributed in Eastwood to disadvantage candidates and discredit the local Falun Gong community.
“With this police station, they can better recruit spies…,” he alleged. ” It [the CCP] can use the relationship between Australians and people in China, business relations, family and friends, etc., to coerce many people to work for it. Everything can be weaponized.”
Huang called on the government to look into the alleged police stations further.
“It’s intolerable that such a thing exists [in the community],” he said. “The Australian government should take action as soon as possible and eliminate these things, to maintain [a] normal democratic social life in Australia and protect groups targeted by the CCP.”
The Epoch Times notes it has not witnessed or had any evidence for the activities suggested by the interviewees about the potential overseas police station.
Responses from Governments
At least 14 countries have launched official investigations into the reports of illegal Chinese police service stations in their jurisdictions, including Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Nigeria, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States, according to a tally by Safeguard Defenders.
Canada, in particular, has summoned its Chinese ambassador over the report.
In response to the disclosure of the CCP’s overseas police stations, The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said it is “aware of the media reports relating to these matters.”
“AFP Deputy Commissioner Investigations addressed questions relating to these matters in the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee Estimates hearing on Nov. 8, 2022,” an AFP spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.
Ian McCartney, Deputy Commissioner for the AFP, said last month that he doesn’t believe the CCP’s contact point in Sydney is active.
“I don’t believe it’s active,” McCartney told Shadow Minister for Countering Foreign Interference James Paterson during a Senate estimates hearing on Nov. 8 in Canberra.
“In terms of the work we do in the countering foreign interference space, it doesn’t stand still. It is ongoing, and I’m not prepared in an opening hearing to detail those issues.”
McCartney’s response triggered harsh criticism from Chin Jin, a Sydney-based China expert.
“[They’re] babes in the wood. Simply ignorant,” Chin, who is the Sydney-based Chair of the Federation For A Democratic China and who holds a PhD of Social Sciences from the University of Sydney, previously told The Epoch Times in an email.
“Beijing has been infiltrating the West in a silent manner. Confucius Institutes, Chinese media and Chinese communities, business, academia, media, and even politics in Australia are all targets of the CCP’s infiltration,” he said.