Australian MPs fight Chinese bid to join Interpol’s governing body

A group of Australian politicians is joining a global fight to stop a top Chinese official joining the governing body of crime fighting organisation Interpol, fearing it could endanger Beijing’s critics.

Hu Binchen, a deputy general in China’s Ministry of Public Security, is seeking election to the executive committee of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) when it holds its annual congress in Turkey this week.

Human rights activists and politicians around the world are opposing his candidacy, alarmed that the Chinese Communist Party could misuse the police body’s powers and resources.

Interpol manages numerous databases containing sensitive information, including biometrics records, and operates an international “red notice” system where countries list individuals who have fled before being arrested.

Six Australian MPs and senators have signed an Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) letter urging Interpol members to block Hu Binchen’s election over concerns that Beijing uses the red notice system to target exiled activists.

“Chinese officials in the past have shown a willingness to use Interpol red notices for political ends,” warns Labor senator Kimberley Kitching, a co-chair of IPAC.

Liberal Party senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells is also among the signatories and warns Australia “certainly should not be supporting” the Chinese official’s election.

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has repeatedly abused the Interpol red notice to persecute dissidents in exile — [it has a] history of leveraging Interpol committee positions to exert undue influence on the organisation,” she said.

“What concerns me the most is the possibility of allowing Interpol to be used as a vehicle for the repressive policies of the PRC and the communist regime in China, which I think will do great harm to the international standing of Interpol.”

The Australian Federal Police and the federal government aren’t commenting on which committee candidates this country will vote for at Interpol’s General Assembly.

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, framed by a camera and a reporter.
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells is one of several politicians urging China be blocked from Interpol’s executive committee.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Liberal senator wants Taiwan entry to Interpol

Senator Fierravanti-Wells, a former minister for International Development and the Pacific, is also backing calls for Taiwan to join Interpol against the wishes of the Chinese government.

Last month Taiwan’s top police officer urged the international community to support his country’s bid to attend this week’s Interpol General Assembly.

Huang Chia-lu, the commissioner of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, argues the tiny democratic nation can play a key role in combating global cybercrime.

“As the entire world teams up to combat the pandemic this year, we urge the international community, in the same spirit, to support Taiwan’s bid to attend the Interpol’s General Assembly as an observer this year and participate in Interpol meetings, mechanisms and training activities”.

“Taiwan’s pragmatic and meaningful participation would help make the world a safer place for all,” he added.

Read More: Australian MPs fight Chinese bid to join Interpol’s governing body

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