Meng Hongwei, a top-level Chinese Security Minister was elected as the president of the International Crime fighting and police cooperation organization (Interpol). Meng will serve as President until 2020.
With this appointment, Meng Hongwei becomes the first official from China to take the post. He has previously served as the head of Interpol China. At the time of this appointment, he was holding the position of China’s Vice Minister for public security.
He was sworn into his new position on 10 November 2016 at the closing of the organisation’s 85th general assembly in Bali, Indonesia.
• Meng has almost 40 years’ experience in criminal justice and policing
• He had overseen affairs related to legal institutions, narcotics control, counter-terrorism, border control, immigration and international cooperation.
• Earlier, he had held many positions in the Ministry of Public Security like Director-General of the Traffic Control Department, Director of the Patrol Police Division, Assistant Minister and Vice Minister.
• He also served as Vice Chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission, Member of the Chinese Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure and Director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office. He also serves as Director-General of the China Coast Guard.
• The organization was founded in 1914 and is headquartered in Lyon, France.
• It is the second largest international organisation after the United Nations with 190 members.
• It plays an important role in deepening global police cooperation and tackling transnational criminal offenses.
• Election of Meng Hongwei, a Chinese national, to the world’s largest law enforcement agency turned up to be a reason for concern. His appointment is a concern for human right advocates because he belongs to the nation, where human right abuses are visible.
• Interpol with its many human rights abuse cases looks to be an ideal tool for political enforcement of a one party system.
• Previous incidents reveal China’s attempts to use Interpol red notices, which place people on global wanted lists, against political dissidents:
- One such example is of Dolkun Isa, who in spite of being granted political asylum by Germany has been placed on the Interpol’s red notice by China.
- Isa is the head of the World Uyghur Congress that speaks on behalf of Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim minority living in China's Xinjiang province.
- Another example is that of Li Dongsheng, a former Vice Minister of Public Security who was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment in a corruption charge by a Chinese court in Tianjin. He was a protégé of disgraced former head of China's security services, Zhou Yongkang who was awarded life imprisonment in June 2015 for corruption offenses.
Meng Hongwei took over from France’s Mireille Ballestrazzi. His tenure will be for 4 years. His primary duty will include chairing meetings of the Interpol’s Executive Committee and ensuring the implementation of decisions made at the General Assembly.