The international organization for crime fighting and cooperation among police forces Interpol has just elected a new president. The new Interpol chief is from China and was a high-ranking security official. Meng Hongwei was the vice minister for public security in China. He was also at one point the head of Interpol China.
The organization recently had a general assembly in Bali, Indonesia. It is there that Meng Hongwei accepted the appointment. The career of the new Interpol chief has taken some by surprise. Since he was involved in enforcing China’s strict public security rules.
Meng Hongwei Starts His Term as President of Interpol
The Interpol issued a statement where the new head of the Interpol outlined his views on his mandate. The statement pointed to the fact that Meng Hongwei took the appointment very seriously and was going to work to advance the cause of policing in the world. Also, the new head of the Interpol feels that there are many challenges to the work of police officers in the modern world.
“We currently face some of the most serious global public security challenges since World War Two,”
said Meng Hongwei.
According to the Chinese state news agency, Meng Hongwei is the first Chinese official that becomes Interpol president.
With the news that the head of the Interpol is Chinese comes the concern that China could double up its efforts to repatriate Chinese citizens. Since China is looking for Chinese fugitive officials that have fled the country. But critics of China have also mentioned the possibility of Beijing using the Interpol to find Chinese dissidents that have relocated overseas.
Concerns Regarding the Appointment of a Chinese Official
Nicholas Bequelin is the regional director for Amnesty International in East Asia. He also says that he is highly concerned by the appointment of a former Chinese minister of public security as the head of the biggest law enforcement agency in the world.
“(This is) someone who presides over a police force notorious for human rights abuses and is a tool for political enforcement of a one-party system,”
said Nicholas Bequelin.
In the past, China has tried to use Interpol red flags against political dissidents. A red flag places an individual on a global wanted list. However, an article in Interpol’s Constitution forbids any intervention or activity that have a “political, military, religious or racial character.” China has received criticism for targeting political dissent.
One of the political dissidents that China placed on a red notice from the Interpol is Dolkun Isa. The head of the World Uyghur Congress is wanted by China even though he was granted political asylum in Germany.
China has also asked for more international cooperation regarding the repatriation of corrupt Chinese officials that have fled overseas. During Operation Foxhunt China successfully repatriated over 2,000 “economic fugitives”. Among them were 342 former Chinese officials.
In 2014, at the beginning of Operation Foxhunt, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China is going to find its corrupt fugitives regardless of the effort it will take.
“Western countries can’t become ‘safe havens’ for corrupt fugitives. No matter where they have escaped to, we will try every means to bring them back,”
said Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Image source: here.