Australian Broadcasting Corporation recently reported that it has obtained a Chinese government document indicating that Chinese police have begun using cloud technology to operate “contact points,” extending the reach of Chinese policing into Australia. The “contact points” are operated by the Hai’an Police Department in Jiangsu Province, using cloud meeting by Tencent (similar to a Zoom meeting) and WeChat to communicate with Australian citizens as well as Chinese people living in Australia. According to Chinese media Xinhua Daily, Chinese students in Australia have been hired as overseas liaison officers to onboard people into this online system.
The report follows the high-profile discovery of several clandestine “Chinese police stations” operating in Canada, the U.S., and several European countries earlier this year. Chinese authorities maintain that these covert police stations were merely providing administrative services such as renewal of passports or driver’s licenses, while human rights experts have said that the police stations were likely used to intimidate Chinese dissidents and monitor Chinese nationals living abroad.
Westphalian sovereignty, a well-known principle in international law, holds that each country has exclusive sovereignty over its territory. A consequence of this principle is that states should not conduct official business (including policing) within other countries. Western countries have viewed Chinese police activities within their borders as violations of their sovereignty.
Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 4, 2023