In late October, a post with a picture, in which Eastern Cape provincial Police Commissioner LtGen Liziwe Ntshinga posed for a photo with two uniformed Chinese policemen, began to circulate on Facebook and Twitter, with the caption, "Chinese are now opening their own Police Stations in South Africa to protect their own people and Businesses."

Some Africans, including politicians, reposted it and said they were being "colonized" by the Chinese.

However, after an investigation, AFP found that it was fake.

"The Chinese have not opened any police station in the country, but have set up 14 Community and Police Cooperation Centers to work with South African police," the news agency said in a report published on its factcheck channel on November 12.

In the picture, police officials from China are attending the opening of the 14th center in Port Elizabeth, it noted.

"These co-operation centers are NOT police stations and are NOT manned by the South African Police Service staff," Colonel Priscilla Naidu of the Eastern Cape South African Police Service told AFP via email.

The first Chinese Community and Police Cooperation Center was set up in 2004 in Johannesburg. It's a non-profit organization which serves as a bridge between the 250,000-350,000 Chinese nationals in the country and the country's law enforcers, according to the center's website.

With the help of donations, the centers provide local Chinese with the latest security information, legal assistance and voluntary work, as well as some service to local police, such as free basic mandarin lessons.

The CEO of the CCPCC, Jie Lee Zhang, says the center cannot arrest or detain individuals. He explained to AFP that the Chinese police in the picture were visiting the embassy in Pretoria and his colleague.

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