Beijing state-backed media celebrated the appointment of a top Chinese public security official to Interpol’s executive committee despite widespread international concern over China’s potential abuse of the global policing organization.
Hu Binchen, a Deputy Director General at China’s Ministry of Public Security, will join the General Assembly session later this month after Beijing campaigned hard for him to join the executive committee. He will serve alongside Praveen Sinha for the next three years as the Delegates for Asia.
Legislators from 20 countries strongly opposed Hu’s appointment due to allegations he is directly involved in Operation Fox Hunt, through which Beijing hunts down dissidents in foreign countries and forces them back to China. A letter from the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) claimed Hu’s appointment would provide China with influence over a major international organization and enable these efforts, the South China Morning Post reported.
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“The government of the People’s Republic of China has repeatedly abused the Interpol red notice to persecute dissidents in exile,” they said in the letter, which has 50 signatories. “By electing Hu Binchen to the executive committee, the general assembly would be giving a green light to the [Chinese] government to continue their misuse of Interpol and would place the tens of thousands of Hongkonger, Uygur, Tibetan, Taiwanese and Chinese dissidents living abroad at even graver risk.”
The “red notice” is an alert system Interpol uses to track and hunt down international criminals, pending extradition, surrender or similar action. The notices identify the person and provide information related to the alleged crime.
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Chinese state-backed news outlet The Global Times applauded Hu’s appointment “despite the slander and malicious obstruction” from the legislators and “so-called ‘human rights’ activists.”
The Times insisted Operation: Fox Hunt is a legitimate “anti-corruption campaign” to track down Chinese citizens suspected of economic crimes who fled overseas.
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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang urged critics to keep Interpol “free from the disruption of politics or other factors.” He claimed the appointment is a “concrete” step towards supporting the fight against terrorism and “cross-border crimes.”
U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-NE, joined the chorus of criticism against Hu in a statement published Tuesday ahead of the vote. Sasse called on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to “address the damaging influence of the Chinese Communist Party on Interpol.”
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“The election of a PRC security official to Interpol’s Executive Committee would present a grave threat to the organization’s integrity and threaten to turn legitimate inter-governmental law enforcement cooperation into another tool of CCP transnational repression,” Sasse wrote.