Newspaper exposes an extraordinary secret deal made between Switzerland and China
Switzerland is a country which has seldom appeared on this site. It has an image of being a peaceful, civilised country with a close attachment to laws and rules. Indeed it is something of an example to the rest of the world having avoided wars for centuries. It never joined the EU. Several human rights based organisations are based in Geneva. The only thing said against it is the secret nature of its banking system which enables billions of dollars to be secreted away out of sight of the host country.
So it has come of something of a shock to discover that it has signed a secret deal with China to facilitate the repatriation of Chinese nationals back to that country. Readmission agreements as they are called are common and Switzerland itself has around 60 of them including one with the UK. These are published or otherwise available and the personnel involved have to be validated by both countries. Not so in the case of China.
The Swiss agreement allows officers from the Ministry of Public Security, which is implicated in widespread, systematic and wide-ranging human rights abuses, free and secret access to the country. Their agents are accused of crimes against humanity. Yet they roam free in Switzerland carrying out unsupervised interviews and operations in their attempts to track down Chinese nationals and repatriate them to China. The Swiss do not check on their activities or know who is being sent back. Of those who have been sent back, their whereabouts are unknown.
Details of this extraordinary story was revealed by the newspaper NZZ amSonntag in August and a fuller story has appeared in Safeguard Defenders. It was kept secret it has been claimed, because it was ‘an administrative agreement’. Now that some Swiss parliamentarians have become aware of it, how long it will last we shall have to see. But it seems to be another example of some western countries craven attitude towards the Chinese despite increasing knowledge of their multiple human rights abuses.
Sources: Swiss Info.ch; Safeguard Defenders; Guardian; NZZ amSonntag