Interpol convenes to elect new leader following detainment of Chinese incumbent

Interpol convenes to elect new leader following detainment of Chinese incumbent

Interpol will today begin a four-day general assembly in Dubai to elect a new president to replace Meng Hongwei—a Chinese

Meng Hongwei, Chinese Vice Public Security Minister, shakes hands with Nguyen Quang Dam, the commandant of the Vietnam Coast Guard, in Beijing

Photo: Reuters/Stringer

Interpol will today begin a four-day general assembly in Dubai to elect a new president to replace Meng Hongwei—a Chinese official who Beijing states resigned in October and remains detained on bribery charges.

It is widely speculated that Meng has fallen foul of Chinese President Xi Jinping on trumped-up charges as a result of internal factional rivalries. Secretary-General Juergen Stock admits little can be done but choose a new leader.

Meng’s downfall throws a cloud over China’s capability of holding leadership roles in global organisations. For years, China has gradually been successful in getting their candidates into top posts in international forums originally established by the West. These include the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, multilateral banks and major UN committees.

The original aim was to deny Taiwan a place in such forums. However, the Meng affair suggests an additional focus. Namely, that Chinese officials holding these roles must be loyal to Beijing’s—and Xi’s—interests above those of the organisation. This will likely lead to opposition to Chinese candidates for these roles and may push China towards setting up global institutions that it controls—like the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.

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