Reports of a secret Chinese outpost in Glasgow being taken 'extremely seriously,' says Nicola Sturgeon

Human rights body Safeguard Defenders this week released a report which suggested dozens of security outposts aimed at forcing Chinese dissidents back home have been set up across the world

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The Scottish Government and Police Scotland are taking reports of a secret Chinese outpost in Glasgow “extremely seriously”, the First Minister has said.

Human rights body Safeguard Defenders this week released a report which suggested dozens of security outposts aimed at forcing Chinese dissidents back home have been set up across the world.

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon said the matter is being taken seriously and she has discussed it with Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone.

Sturgeon says reports are being taken 'extremely seriously.'
Sturgeon says reports are being taken 'extremely seriously.'

“I agree these reports are deeply concerning and I want to be very clear that we take them very seriously,” she said.

“Any foreign country operating in Scotland must abide by Scottish law.

“The Scottish Government fully supports an individual’s rights to freedom of expression and that is also an extremely important principle.

“These matters require to be fully and properly investigated and it would not be appropriate for me to go into too much detail, but I do know – and I know this as a result of a conversation I had just yesterday with the chief constable – police are aware of these reports.”

The First Minister stressed the police remain independent of Government, and any investigations would be a matter for the force, but she repeated that the issue requires to be treated “extremely seriously”.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer, who raised the question with the First Minister, said there should be a “zero-tolerance approach” to what he described as “dictatorships, dictatorships like the one in Beijing using their diplomatic presence here to harass and abuse pro-democracy activists and their families”.

Police Scotland assistant chief constable Andy Freeburn said: “We are currently reviewing these reports to assess any criminality in conjunction with local and national partners.”