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Prospect of Chinese official vying for Interpol job raises alarm bells


PARIS: A top Chinese official’s application to join Interpol‘s governing body has raised alarm bells as experts, parliamentarians from around the world and activists fear that Beijing could use the crime-fighting organisation to silence its critics abroad, including members of the Uyghur community and other activists.
Hu Binchen, a deputy general in China’s Ministry of Public Security which oversees policing, is among a list of candidates standing for election to Interpol’s executive committee, to be decided by its General Assembly on November 23-25.
In a letter procured by French publication “Liberation”, a group of parliamentarians from across the world have called for the rejection of Hu Binchen’s candidacy for the executive committee of the world police organization.
As many as fifty MPs from the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) have written to their home affairs ministers, including Australia’s Karen Andrews, expressing alarm, saying Hu could use the position to target China’s perceived enemies.
This development come as human rights NGO Safeguard Defenders released its latest investigation which presents data on how China uses (and misuses) Interpol tools such as Red Notices.
The probe also looks at Interpol’s rapid expansion over the last two decades, which has seen the use of Red Notices increased ten-fold, and Diffusions five-fold.
Moreover, IPAC and exiled activists from China, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang launches appeals to governments to prevent the election of Hu Binchen to INTERPOL’s 13-members Executive Committee.
The rights NGO in its report said Hu Binchen is a police officer with the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and works specifically for its International Cooperation Department, which is heavily involved in China’s Fox Hunt and Sky Net operations.
According to the report, these Chinese covert operations uses regular tools such as INTERPOL and extraditions to return alleged fugitives but is also involved in forcing their return via threats to family back in China, by sending agents abroad to operate illegally in foreign countries to intimidate people to return “voluntarily”, and conducts kidnappings.
“We ask you to oppose Hu Binchen’s candidacy and to support efforts to reform Interpol’s red notice system in order to protect victims of political persecution around the world,” write the signatories, mostly European but also Indian, Japanese and American, all members of the IPAC.
“Allowing Interpol to be used as a vehicle for the Chinese government’s repressive policies is seriously damaging its international reputation,” asserted the parliamentarians as quoted by the French publication.

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