The piece on virtual kidnappings is very interesting. The BBC could also have mentioned that these scams have been going on since at least 2017 and much written about, from multiple countries.
But, most reports fail to discuss the most striking aspect, here too mentioned just in passing: The victims take it as believable that their own Chinese embassy/consulate/police/authorities would do this to them.
And of course they are right, it IS believable, because the Chinese authorities do these things all the time! (kidnapping you, forcing relatives to help work on you, etc.). And they know that even in a foreign country, you are not safe from the Chinese government.
I guess ransom payment from relatives are not commonly done officially (what’s extracted is usually — your silence, political compliance), but then the Chinese police and government are so thoroughly corrupt that the victims are probably justified in believing that part, too.
Magnus Fiskesjö <firstname.lastname@example.org>