Chinese Security Official Elected as President of Interpol and Human Rights Groups are Worried

Human rights groups and concerned individuals have raised some valid concerns against the election of a high ranking Chinese enforcement official as the new president of Interpol.

Meng Hongwei, who has been China’s Vice Minister of Public Security for more than a decade, was elected president of the powerful global police organization at a general assembly meeting in Indonesia on Thursday, according to the Interpol website.

Some observers fear that the new Interpol leader may influence the group’s focus on cases benefiting the Chinese government, specifically to pursue its dissidents around the globe, reported the Guardian.

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“This is extraordinarily worrying given China’s longstanding practice of trying to use Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees abroad,” East Asia’s Amnesty International regional director Nicholas Bequelin said on Twitter.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption has been in full swing since he came to power in 2012 with more than a million officials punished. Critics, however, have accused Xi of using the anti-graft campaign to jail political enemies.

The Chinese government has often depended on Interpol to track officials who have allegedly escaped overseas. With the regime’s human rights record, some worry that this new influence and power may soon be abused.

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“The Chinese police have a terrible human rights record, including the endemic practice of coercing ‘confessions’ and the widespread use of torture,” Bequelin was quoted in an interview.

“Unlike most law enforcement agencies around the world, the Chinese police have – in addition to the classic law and order mandate – a political mandate to protect the power of the Communist party.”

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