Liu Zheng Associated Press Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning n has not commented on the existence of Chinese police stations in Canada.
China on Friday accused Canada of smearing its reputation over allegations that the country is secretly operating two overseas police stations in Quebec.
During a press briefing, the door Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Canada should “stop sensationalizing and hyping the issue and stop attacking and slandering China.”
She added that the latter had “strictly respected international law and the judicial sovereignty of all countries”.
The spokeswoman did not comment on the existence of the police stations and did not specify whether they were operated by Chinese government authorities.
Sergeant Charles Poirier, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), said Thursday that Chinese Canadians had been victims of activities carried out by the stations. He stressed that Canada will not tolerate “any form of intimidation, harassment or harmful targeting of diaspora communities or individuals in Canada”, adding that the RCMP's Integrated National Security Team has opened investigations into the alleged police stations in Montreal and Brossard.
The Spanish human rights organization Safeguard Defenders maintains that China has dozens of such stations across the world, including three in the Greater Toronto Area.
In a report published last September, he said the stations were used to “harass, threaten, intimidate and coerce targets to return to China for persecution.”
China's Foreign Ministry had previously described these overseas posts as service posts for overseas Chinese who need help with bureaucratic tasks, such as renewing their Chinese driver's license. These services to citizens are normally provided by an embassy or consulate.
Beijing has launched two campaigns to bring suspects wanted, mostly for economic crimes, back to China, but has assured that its agents abroad act in accordance with international law. US authorities have clarified that this has not always been the case.
The police stations have fueled global concerns that the Chinese Communist Party seeks to control its citizens overseas, often using threats against their families and their safety. These methods would also allow them to undermine the democratic institutions of other nations while gathering economic and political intelligence.
Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said Thursday that concerns about foreign interference were behind Canada's refusal to issue a diplomatic visa to a political operative for China last fall.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that the presence of Chinese police stations in Canada is a source of concern for the federal government.
“We are aware of the [presence of] police stations. Chinese police across the country for several months, and we are making sure that the RCMP is following up and that our intelligence services are taking the situation seriously,” he told reporters in Ottawa.
Chinese-Canadian relations took a major hit in 2018 after China imprisoned two Canadians on allegedly false charges. This event took place shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei and daughter of the company's founder, on an extradition request from the United States.
< p>The two Canadians were deported to Canada in 2021, the same day Ms. Meng returned to China after reaching an agreement in her case with US authorities.