FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon says reports of secret Chinese base being taken extremely seriously

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 that 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 was being taken seriously and she had discussed it with Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone.

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

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images

“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.”

Ms Sturgeon stressed the police remained independent of Government, and any investigations would be a matter for the force, but she repeated the issue required 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”.

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