In China, official media criticize Interpol’s Chinese director

Foreign Ministry officials in Beijing and the Central Chinese Television (CCTV) have praised China’s appointment to the global body’s board of directors as an “important step forward” and an “important contribution to Interpol’s mission.” Although there is little domestic media have to say, there are plenty of critical comments in China’s official media that offer a direct depiction of international anger toward the Interpol adoption.

The two-week-old “Operation Fox Hunt” has caused an international uproar, with China deemed an “accused persecutor” in a condemnation by the Interpol CEO, who became an international symbol of repression while investigating the Weibo kidnapping of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Although the operation is ostensibly about on-going Weibo attacks, there is widespread concern among international critics that Interpol is being politicized. From AP’s Christopher Bodeen in Hong Kong:

Interpol chiefs were due to meet Monday at the Paris headquarters of the international police organization to discuss the first ever operation that singled out a government for targeting the activities of an individual in order to block political or religious criticism. The controversy surrounding the western European-led operation known as “Operation Fox Hunt” has fueled strong criticism of Interpol worldwide. However, in a foreign ministry statement released Saturday, Beijing’s top spokesman, Geng Shuang, said the country was proud to take its place on the organization’s board of directors, which is set to be finalized next month in Lyon, France. Geng also said the appointment of Weibo user Chen Ping as a vice-president of Interpol had made clear Beijing’s commitment to Interpol’s principles and its police cooperation mission. Chen is accused of aiding the persecution of a spiritual movement called Falun Gong, which is viewed with deep suspicion by the party. She is under house arrest and not allowed to leave the country, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Amnesty says Chen Ping in her role in Interpol was responsible for arresting Falun Gong members as part of its “white list” of people to be targeted by the organization. “China is wrong to compare the detention of Chen Ping to Interpol’s decision to name her a vice-president of the police organization,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe director at Amnesty International. “The two issues are completely different and there are plenty of reasons why China should not be gaining access to such a powerful international body.”

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