French CCP Police Station Attempts to Repatriate Dissident

On March 22, 26-year-old Chinese dissident Ling Huazhan entered Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, escorted by seven individuals, including two Chinese embassy staff, holding the dissident’s identification and phone. Their mission was to ensure the young man boarded a China Southern Airlines A350 flight scheduled to depart for Guangzhou at 11:35 a.m.

However, the operation failed. Mr. Ling, who went to the airport to pick up his confiscated passport by the embassy, refused to board.

The two Chinese embassy staff contacted a police officer in Zhanjiang, a city in China’s southern Guangdong Province, who spoke with Mr. Ling by phone and ordered him to return immediately to China. The threats were temporarily halted by border police a few minutes later.

France 2, a French public national television channel, aired a television special on May 2, revealing for the first time how the Chinese police attempted to forcibly deport dissidents and issue threats through the Chinese embassy in France, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s overseas “service center,” and overseas Chinese groups.

France 2 and Challenges, a French magazine, was informed of the CCP’s plan by Wang Jingyu, another exiled Chinese dissident, who himself experienced the CCP’s harassment and threats years ago.

‘They Had People Everywhere’

Mr. Ling once protested against the CCP’s dictatorship, uploaded videos criticizing its current leader Xi Jinping and founder Mao Zedong, and expressed support for groups persecuted by the communist regime, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Uyghurs.

This agricultural technician from Guangdong Province traveled to Europe in the spring of 2023. In September 2023, he went to France after being threatened in Germany.

Mr. Ling stated that he was located by the Chinese Embassy. After arriving in Paris, he was repeatedly followed, assaulted, and humiliated by Chinese individuals on the streets, who even took photos and sent them to his family in China to pressure him.

On March 22, Mr. Ling received a call from the Chinese embassy, asking him to meet for a conversation outside a Chinese restaurant in Aubervilliers, a northern suburb of Paris. The address had long been identified by French intelligence as an underground Chinese police station.

“They said they had people everywhere in France and would find me no matter what. I felt I would be arrested and deported back to China,” he told media later.

After the conversation, Mr. Ling was taken directly to Charles de Gaulle Airport by two cars, with France 2’s filming team and Challenges’ reporters following. He later explained that he was promised his passport back once he got into the car.

Upon entering the airport, he was surrounded by two Chinese embassy staff and staff from a local Chinese organization wearing red vests. His phone and identity documents were held by embassy officials. A suited individual accompanied him to board, but just before boarding, Mr. Ling made up his mind to escape, angering the embassy staff who chased after him.

Reporters from Challenges and France 2 intervened to protect and assist Mr. Ling in reclaiming his passport. French customs officers also arrived on the scene. Yet they made no further action due to the embassy staff’s diplomatic status.

After the deportation failed, Mr. Ling continued to receive harassing calls and hundreds of threatening messages, including from Lin Jiayan, a police officer in Zhanjiang City, demanding his return to surrender, or else his family would face retaliation. Some messages threatened him with “we will let your brother sit on the tiger bench [a form of torture]” and “we will remove his genitals,” etc. They also ordered the dissident to go to a Chinese restaurant called “Travel Notes” in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, a place that is still on the radar of France’s Ministry of the Interior.

The French media called back the harassing numbers. The calls were answered by the general switchboard of a public security bureau, which refused to explain why Mr. Ling was being harassed and stated that “it was not convenient to disclose the case to citizens.”

Overseas CCP Police Stations Abound

In 2022, Safeguard Defenders, a Spain-based human rights organization revealed that the CCP has set up more than a hundred overseas police stations in 53 countries, including four in France, two in Paris, and another two in the Paris suburbs.

Based on Safeguard Defenders’ latest report in April, the CCP claimed it has successfully returned over 12,000 people using methods including extradition, repatriation, and sometimes kidnapping over the past decade. It contains 283 individual accounts of extrajudicial returns from at least 56 countries and 2 territories (Hong Kong and Macao).

The report looks at the first decade of Operation Fox Hunt and Operation Sky Net, two worldwide operations to apprehend overseas Chinese accused of financial crimes.

The Aubervilliers Association, founded in 2021, describes itself as “an organization that provides charitable services to Chinese nationals in France” and has an office at 85-87 Avenue Victor Hugo in Aubervilliers, France. Safeguard Defenders confirmed in 2022 that the building housed a secret police station, located in the office of another institution, the France-China Trade Association in Aubervilliers.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, this agency, as well as six other police stations found in France, have not been active since the NGO’s report in 2022.

Mr. Wang stated that the French intelligence services have opened an investigation into the incident.

The Ling Huazhan incident for the first time presented on camera to Europe the CCP’s process of intimidating overseas dissidents through a network of secret police stations.

Mr. Ling filed a lawsuit on April 10 against the unknown individuals who harassed him. Henri Thulliez, Mr. Ling’s lawyer, said that the case was typical and clear, that it was “unacceptable that foreign authorities could jeopardize the fundamental rights of a citizen on French territory.”


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