BEIJING, CHINA — China vehemently denied on Wednesday the existence of secret police stations in the United Kingdom, following an order by London to close them down.
UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said Tuesday the government had told the Chinese embassy to shut the stations after the human rights group Safeguard Defenders published a report on their existence in the United Kingdom.
According to the report, the stations were set up to provide administrative services but were also used “to monitor and harass diaspora communities and, in some cases, to coerce people to return to China outside of legitimate channels”, Tugendhat told parliament in a statement.
But Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters at a regular news briefing on Wednesday: “There are simply no so-called secret police stations.”
“China urges the UK to respect the facts, stop hyped-up exaggeration and smearing China, and stop creating obstacles to China-UK relations,” he said.
“China has always strictly abided by international law and respected the judicial sovereignty of all countries.”
The UK Foreign Office “told the Chinese embassy that any functions related to such ‘police service stations’ in the UK are unacceptable and that they must not operate in any form”, Tugendhat said Tuesday.
Beijing’s embassy in the United Kingdom denied the report, warning against “false accusations” made by the media.