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Canada investigates alleged China ‘police stations’ in Montreal

Police in Canada have said they are investigating allegations that two
Montreal-area centres are being used as Chinese
“police stations” to intimidate or harass Canadians of Chinese

“We are carrying out police actions aimed at detecting and
disrupting these foreign state-backed criminal activities, which
may threaten the safety of persons living in Canada,” the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Quebec said in a statement on Thursday.

The investigation adds to mounting allegations of Chinese interference in Canada’s internal affairs, including accusations by Ottawa that Beijing tried to influence the last two Canadian elections. China has denied those accusations.

Countries including the United States and the Netherlands
have carried out similar probes following a report in September
by Safeguard Defenders, a Europe-based human rights
organisation, detailing the presence of dozens of “Chinese police
service stations” in major cities globally.

In November, the RCMP in Ontario, Canada’s most populous
province, also launched an investigation into similar reports of
Chinese “police service stations” in the Toronto area. The
Ontario RCMP did not respond to a request for information on
that probe.

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to
a request for comment. It has previously said that there are
centres outside China run by local volunteers, not Chinese
police officers, that aim to help Chinese citizens renew
documents and offer other services disrupted during the Covid-19

Canada-China tensions 

The Quebec RCMP alleged that Canadians of Chinese origin
have been “victims of the possible activities” conducted by two
centres, in Montreal and nearby Brossard, it has identified as
possible police stations run by Beijing.

“These activities and any other form of intimidation,
harassment or harmful targeting of diaspora communities or
individuals in Canada will not be tolerated,” the RCMP said.

Tensions between Canada and China soared in late 2018 when
Canadian police detained an executive of the Chinese company
Huawei Technologies Co, which was followed by Beijing’s arrest
of two Canadians on spying charges.

All three were freed in 2021, but the relations have
remained strained for various reasons, most recently over
accusations of election interference by China.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will
appoint an independent special investigator to probe those
allegations and also announced separate new probes into the
suspected foreign meddling.

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