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[Speaking Out] Expose China's Insidious Secret Police Stations in Japan

Calling China a "master of infiltration," the author, who was persecuted for a book criticizing Xi Jinping, urges Japan to root out "secret police stations."



Chinese police stations Akihabara
Akihabara, pictured in this streetview, is also where anime and manga devotees gather. Moreover, it is one of Japan's tourist hotspots.

Two Chinese American men have recently been arrested for their alleged operation of a "secret police station" in New York City's Chinatown to monitor Chinese residents in the United States. While applauding the good news, I recalled various things that happened to me over the past few years.

Born in China and naturalized in Japan, I came under harassment from China after the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as a lockdown of China's Wuhan, where COVID-19 supposedly originated, was reported, relevant video footage flooded the Internet. They showed a group of people in protective gear forcefully confining people without food and the seriously ill, including the elderly and toddlers, in their houses under the "direction of the authorities." People crying in despair in the face of tyrannical power reminded me of my childhood when my family and I suffered political persecution.

Chinese police stations
The former office of the America ChangLe Association is described by US authorities as a Chinese "secret police station" masquerading as a social gathering place for people from China's Fujian province. It is on the fourth floor of the Royal East Plaza building at 107 East Broadway in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City. April 17, 2023. (© REUTERS/Bing Guan)

Harassment After Book Publication

My long-standing question of why ordinary people's lives have to be tossed about by national politics came to my mind again and I could not but think about it. I then concluded that the misfortunes of Chinese people might have originated from the Chinese Communist Party's dictatorship. I compiled my observations into a book titled My Enemy, Xi Jinping (Asuka Shinsha, June 2020).

Since then, my family members in China have been summoned and blackmailed by security police. I myself in Japan was also treated badly.

At first, I was inexplicably called by the Chinese embassy to pick up a parcel. Then, one-ring and silent phone calls began to come frequently. My mobile phone and personal computers went down very often due to communication failure or something else. My scheduled undertaking was canceled by a Japanese publishing company. When going out, I was followed by suspicious vehicles. A woman who identified herself as in charge of public relations at the Chinese embassy made a number of calls to the publisher of my book, condemning the publication. Such mysterious incidents came one after another.

Author Yang Yi is also a winner of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize literary award.

Insidiously Branded as a Traitor

In the most shocking incident, an acquaintance of mine made a phone call to me and started off by accusingly asking what evidence I had for writing that book. But I had never talked to her about politics before. 

I asked her if she had read the book. She answered no. She and other members of a Chinese cultural group forming an association in Japan seemed to have held a meeting at a Chinese restaurant to criticize me. After authoring a book critical of China in Japan, I was insidiously set up as a traitor of the Chinese Han race who committed a crime of subversion.

Chinese overseas police stations that have become controversial globally were reportedly found also in Japan. One is thought to be in Tokyo's Akihabara district and the other in Fukuoka. If so, I want the Japanese government to act immediately. The Chinese Communist Party is a master of infiltration, exploring opportunities to send spies into foreign countries. 

Not a small number of private Chinese associations in Japan, especially some of those capped with "culture" or "economy," undermine Japanese sovereignty behind the scenes while loudly calling for Japan-China friendship. I hope the Japanese government will take relevant countermeasures as soon as possible.


(A version of this article was first published by the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, Speaking Out #1035 in Japanese on May 1 and in English on May 2, 2023.)

Author: Yang Yi 

Yang Yi is a writer who has won the prestigious literary award  Akutagawa Prize.