A top Chinese security official is seeking election into the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). However, his candidacy has sparked global opposition from lawmakers and human rights groups.
Hu Binchen, the deputy director-general of China’s International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Public Security, will compete with two other candidates for two seats for Asia in Interpol’s 13-member Executive Committee at the 89th General Assembly session, which will be held from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25 in Istanbul.
A total of 50 legislators—from 20 countries and who are part of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC)—have expressed strong opposition to Hu’s candidacy in a joint letter, dated Nov. 15 and addressed to Interpol member states. They accused China of repeatedly abusing the Interpol Red Notice system to persecute dissidents in exile. The legislators said the Interpol General Assembly might grant a “green light” to China’s continued misuse of the world organization and push overseas dissidents, including Uyghurs and Tibetans, to even “graver risk.”
The IPAC critics cited the case of Uyghur activist Idris Hasan (also known as Yidiresi Aishan) as an example. Following an Interpol Red Notice filed by China, Haran was detained in Morocco in July after arriving from Turkey, where he has lived since 2012. Hasan held Chinese nationality and a Turkish residency permit. In August, Interpol canceled the red notice after conducting a review.
Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uygur Congress, had a Red Notice for his arrest for 20 years until 2018. During that period, he was detained and faced possible extradition to China in at least five countries that he traveled to, including the United States, South Korea, and Italy.
On Nov. 15, 40 representatives of human rights groups expressed a similar concern in an appeal over Hu’s election bid. Given the vulnerability of activists in exile to Beijing’s persecution, the signatories feared that Hu’s election would produce grave consequences for the safety of human rights activists living outside of China, including Tibetan and Uyghur diasporas.
Gloria Fung, president of Canada-Hong Kong Link, noted Hu’s extensive record of civilian suppression in a Nov. 16 interview with The Epoch Times. She cited Hu as the organizer responsible for both the Skynet system and Fox Hunt, which use advanced technology to closely monitor China’s civic society, including Hong Kong.
“We can predict now if a candidate with such a background and on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] gets elected in the Interpol Executive Committee, big data in the international community, including highly sensitive information, will also fall into the CCP’s hands,” Fung said.
She also deemed Hu’s election as a huge threat to overseas rights groups critical of the CCP.
“You can never tell when our secrets or data will be known to the CCP or what action it will take to arrest thousands of dissidents outside China,” Fung said.
According to the activists in exile, Hu has served as the deputy director-general of the International Cooperation Department at China’s Ministry of Public Security since 2014. During his term, he played a leading role in cementing China’s ties with countries that have deported Uyghurs to China in recent years, including Malaysia, Turkey, and Cambodia.
Donna Ho contributed to this report.