Human Rights Watch Monday urged the International Police Organization (Interpol) to address China's misuse of the red alert system to crack down on dissidents in its upcoming General Assembly in Beijing.
HRW sent a letter to Interpol to discuss the issue at its 86th General Assembly, where police chiefs and security experts from all over the world are set to meet starting Tuesday morning.
"Interpol claims to operate according to international human rights standards, but China has already shown a willingness to manipulate the system," said Sophie Richardson, China director at HRW, in a statement.
In Nov. 2016, when Chinese Vice-Minister for Public Security, Meng Hongwei, was appointed Interpol's president, it had prompted criticism from several international organizations over the possible loss of neutrality and protection of the entity's human rights under his leadership.
HRW warned Interpol's credibility is at risk under Meng's mandate because, contrary to Interpol rules, China has issued politically motivated red alerts to detain and extradite dissidents and activists.
Arbitrary detention, torture, and enforced disappearance in the past, "raise concerns that those subject to Interpol red notices from China will be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment."
The HRW also referred to the case of activist Dolkun Isa, campaigning on behalf of ethnic Uyghur community in Xinjiang, and who has had a red alert against him for more than a decade, as well as that of activist Wang Zaigang, who lives in the United States and believes that the red alert against him was in retaliation to his pro-democracy activism outside of China.
"Interpol needs to explain how it will avoid becoming an arm of the Chinese government abroad, using red notices against dissidents and forcing people back to torture in China," said Richardson.