Safeguard Defenders, a pan-Asian human rights organization based in Spain, alleged in a September report that China has established three overseas police “service stations” in Canada in accordance with Chinese-run associations as a tactic to capture individuals targeted by the Chinese government.
In a statement to Global News, the RCMP said it “takes threats to the security of individuals living in Canada very seriously and is aware that foreign states may seek to intimidate or harm communities or individuals within Canada.”
“It is important for all individuals and groups living in Canada, regardless of their nationality, to know that there are support mechanisms in place to assist them when experiencing potential foreign interference or state-backed harassment and intimidation.”
The agency said they cannot comment further as the investigation is still ongoing.
Safeguard Defenders alleged that there are 54 Chinese “police” stations operating worldwide, with a majority in Europe. The three Canadian stations are in the Greater Toronto Area, the group said.
The report quotes Chinese claims that its police forces “persuaded” 230,000 individuals living abroad to “voluntarily” return to China to face potential criminal charges.
While is unclear what the charges are, Safeguard Defenders said these police stations pose a “risk to the international rule of law and territorial sovereignty.”
CBC was the first to report on RCMP’s current investigation into the Chinese “police” stations on Wednesday.
In a Globe and Mail report about rising concerns over Chinese “police” stations in Canada published in September, a spokesperson for the RCMP told reporters that the force would not comment on “uncorroborated media reports or statements.”
The spokesperson added that foreign police officers “can be sent to Canada as part of diplomatic or consular missions, performing duties which are representational or in liaison capacity.”
Conservative MP Michael Chong, who is also the party’s foreign affairs critic, said in a tweet following the CBC report that “this is an outrageous intrusion on Canadian sovereignty.”
Global News reached out to the Embassy of People’s Republic of China but did not hear back in time for publication.
The RCMP states that individuals who feel threatened online or in person should report the incidents to their local police. In cases where someone is in immediate danger, they should call 9-1-1 or contact their local police.
Individuals may also contact the RCMP National Security Information Network by phone at 1-800-420-5805 or by email.