A key Chinese Communist Party police leader was elected to serve on Interpol's executive committee on Thursday despite opposition from an alliance of international legislators, including Republicans in Congress as well as a host of exiled activists, all of whom warned China would abuse the position.
Hu Binchen, the deputy director general for the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, was elected to fill one of two Asian delegate slots during Interpol's General Assembly meeting in Turkey, and the Chinese police officer will serve a three-year term on the international policing organization's 13-member Executive Committee.
Interpol, with its 194 members, controls a vast quantity of law enforcement data and legal databases that are shared with its membership, including China, which has long been accused of abusing the organization to go after Chinese dissidents and others who criticize the Chinese Communist Party.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, a group comprising legislators from around the world who advocate standing up to the CCP, condemned the selection of the Ministry of Public Security official. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security also runs a global extrajudicial repatriation effort dubbed "Operation Fox Hunt."
"The government of the People's Republic of China has repeatedly abused the Interpol Red Notice to persecute dissidents in exile. Hu's election gives the PRC government a green light to continue using Interpol as a vehicle for its repressive policies globally and places thousands of Hong Konger, Uyghur, Tibetan, Taiwanese, and Chinese dissidents living abroad at even graver risk," IPAC said Thursday. "The PRC cannot be allowed to continue its long arm policing abroad. In light of these abuses, we reiterate our call for all governments to revoke extradition treaties with the PRC and Hong Kong. Activists, dissidents, and exiles living abroad must be protected from harassment and intimidation from the PRC authorities."
Interpol says a Red Notice "is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action."
An IPAC letter from earlier in November, signed by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher, along with dozens more legislators from around the world, said the Chinese government "has repeatedly abused the Interpol Red Notice to persecute dissidents in exile."
The group specifically pointed to Uyghur activist Idris Hasan being arrested in Morocco following a since-deleted Red Notice filed by the Chinese government.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has repeatedly warned about Operation Fox Hunt, which is run out of Hu's ministry.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said this month in response to the Interpol controversy: "China's proposal of suitable candidates for the Executive Committee of Interpol is a specific measure to actively support the organization's goals of combating terrorism, transnational crime, and ‘making the world safer' as a member of the organization, and to make positive contributions to international police cooperation."
Interpol claimed that "no individual member of the Executive Committee has any involvement or influence in the decision-making process to publish or cancel a Red Notice" and that the organization exists to provide "a neutral platform for police to work directly with their counterparts, even between countries which do not have diplomatic relations."
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