Lhasa: A Chinese official’s application to join Interpol’s governing body has raised alarm bells as activists fear that Beijing could use the crime-fighting organisation to silence its critics abroad.
This comes as people from around the world have launched a campaign to oppose the candidacy of Hu Binchen, a Deputy Director General at China’s Ministry of Public Security, to the Interpol Executive Committee at its General Assembly session later this month.
“It has now become clear that China uses these international organisations to promote its domestic agenda. When Meng Hongwei, China’s delegate to Interpol, served as its President from 2016 to 2018, Red Notices were selectively served to repatriate Chinese nationals wanted by the authorities in China for engaging in political and religious activism or views contrary to the Communist Party,” according to Tibet Press.
The Red Notice system forms a vital part of the Chinese regime’s repatriation strategy. It not only freezes all international bank accounts of its victims but increases travel restrictions for the designated individuals, the report added.
On Monday, 50 legislators, from 20 countries, who are part of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) penned a joint letter to their governments raising alarm at China’s moves to gain influence over the global policing body, IPAC said in a statement on Monday.
The letter references recent attempts by the Chinese government to use the Interpol Red Notice system to target Uyghur activists living in exile and argues that Hu Binchen’s election would give Beijing a ‘green light’ to continue using Interpol as “a vehicle for the PRC government’s repressive policies.”
The moves were accompanied by a separate letter from 40 activists to the Interpol Member States warning that Hu Binchen’s election would have “grave consequences for the safety and wellbeing of Chinese, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese and Chinese human rights activists living outside China as well as Tibetan and Uyghur diasporas.”
Hu Binchen’s election bid coincides with the release of a new report into the Chinese government’s efforts to hide the extent of its ‘long arm policing abroad’.
The report, published by human rights advocacy group Safeguard Defenders, reveals for the first time how the Chinese government is refraining from making its Interpol Red Notice requests public, putting thousands of activists and dissidents at risk of arrest, detention and extradition to China. The report also examines the role of Hu Binchen’s International Cooperation Department in China’s pursuit of alleged ‘fugitives’ abroad through legal and illegal means.