(By Tsering Passang, Founder of Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities)
Like many other international organisations, Interpol serves a vital purpose in tracking down criminals worldwide and bringing them to justice. The International Crime Police Organisation (commonly known as Interpol) is the world’s largest international police organisation with membership from some 194 countries. It is an inter-governmental organisation second in size to the United Nations.
Interpol, based in France, provides investigative support, expertise, and training to law enforcement bodies worldwide, coordinates networks of police and experts between countries and allows access to their database for information on crimes and criminals. Member countries designate officers in their national agency who liaise with the Interpol for cooperation.
In recent years, the Chinese government has been making strenuous efforts to deploy its delegates in higher positions within international organisations of which China is a member. 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. For China, 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.
Serious abuser countries such as China must be stopped from misusing Interpol’s prominent platform. China’s misuse of Red Notices as a tool of its domestic agenda to forcibly return dissidents is well-documented. Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress, who was subject to such a Red Notice for almost 20 years before it was deleted in 2018 is a classic example of China’s wrongdoing.
In the coming days, the three vacancies available for countries in Asia at Interpol are due to be filled by candidates from the four countries whose candidates are listed below. China has been lobbying heavily to ensure its delegate is anointed.
- Hu Binchen, Deputy Director General of the International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Public Security, China
- Praveen Sinha, Additional Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, India
- Woo Jong-Soo, Commissioner of the Gyeonggi Bukbu Police Agency, Republic of Korea.
- William Koh Siang Yuan, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Director of International Cooperation Department, Head of NCB, Singapore
The Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) has joined forces with other leading activists and advocacy groups around the world, calling on member countries to refrain from voting for Hu Binchen, the Chinese delegate. If Hu Binchen is voted in, he is likely to become the President of this international police organisation in the very near future.
It is important to know why we object to Hu Binchen in particular. Binchen was the Head of Security during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is also supervising security during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Hu Binchen was responsible for the evictions and demolishing of homes near the 2008 Beijing Olympics sites that smoothly paved the way for infrastructure building.
Silencing Chinese citizens who expressed concerns about the Olympics in relation to human rights abuses, through intimidation, imprisonments and the use of house arrests, were among Hu Binchen’s abuse of his powers. In addition to providing key technical and security guidance to the Chinese leadership, Binchen also provides support on digital surveillance tools to foreign governments during training programmes.
There is no doubt that should Hu Binchen be appointed to the prominent Interpol platform, he would faithfully serve Xi Jinping and fully cooperate with the Chinese regime’s work of crushing the voices of Hong Kongers, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Taiwanese, and Chinese human rights activists as well as other persecuted minorities. Member countries of Interpol must not allow this to happen.