By: Amber Sonam
On 10 November 2016, two days after Donald Trump’s astonishing victory in the American Presidential elections, the International Criminal Police Organization commonly known as INTERPOL announced its newly and democratically elected President for 2016-2020, at the 85th session of INTERPOL’s General Assembly held in Bali. INTERPOL was founded in 1914, is now headquartered in Lyon, France and has 190 members around the world. It is the second largest international organization after the United Nations (UN).
While the election of a new INTERPOL head itself is not particularly exciting news, what is noteworthy is that fact that the new head who now has access to the largest surveillance network in the world and who’s privy to large databases of vital global information is an official in the Chinese government. INTERPOL is empowered by a collective of the world’s police forces and charged with a duty to make the world a safer place in the spirit and vein of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, abiding by its Constitution that prohibits ‘any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character’. This signals a shift towards global confidence and trust in China.
The new President of INTERPOL is 62-year-old Mr Meng Hongwei, who took over from Mireille Ballestrazzi. Meng is a native of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province. He was born in 1953, and joined the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) in 1975. He graduated from the Law Department of Beijing University with a Bachelor Degree in Law, and from Central South University with a Master Degree.
Meng Hongwei is also the Vice Minister of Public Security of China, and brings to his new role close to 40 years of experience in criminal justice and policing. Meng’s expertise covers counter-terrorism, international cooperation, border control, legal institutions, immigration and narcotics control.
His proficiency in these areas were accumulated through the various positions Meng held in the Ministry of Public Security such as Director-General of the Traffic Control Department, Director of the Patrol Police Division, Director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office, Director-General of the China Coast Guard, Vice Chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission and Member of the Chinese Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure, and finally as Assistant Minister and Vice Minister. Mr. Meng is also the Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau of China.
Good news or bad news?
This news came as a jarring shock to the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) who have much to be concerned about these days. For starters, the Tibetan leadership made fun of Donald Trump when the latter was running for President of the United States of America, not expecting him to win. However once Trump became President-elect, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay was quick with his congratulations and request for continued American support for his exiled government and the Tibetans-in-exile. Donald Trump is well known for his stance on immigrants and refugees and so far has been silent on the subject of Tibetans-in-exile.
The CTA has no plans or policies for growth and progress of the Tibetan nation and instead hinges all its hopes on the gullibility and generosity of global governments and the world community. Ironically, the CTA’s pitch to the world, which it has been peddling for over half a century, is that it is a democracy and therefore it becomes the duty of all liberal nations around the world to support its campaign against its enemy, the People’s Republic of China. And yet, the CTA is infamous for not practicing democracy and upholding even the most basic human rights itself.
Even today, the CTA practices faith-based discrimination against a group of Buddhists who are Dorje Shugden practitioners. There is indisputable evidence of how they incite and coerce the Tibetan people to discriminate against Shugden Buddhists whose only ‘crime’ is to refuse to denounce their respective teachers to who they are loyal. As a mark of loyalty to the Dalai Lama or to put it in a different way, as a sign that they are not traitors of the Tibetan people, private businesses and government institutions are required to put up signs denying entry and service to Dorje Shugden practitioners within the Tibetan settlements, and even refuse them basic medical needs. In fact Shugden Buddhists are marginalized and even denied identity papers so they cannot vote nor travel abroad. For whatever reasons the CTA has held out in attempting to justify its illegal actions, it cannot explain away why it is committing crimes against democracy and why it conducts purges and promotes discrimination against a religious community while pretending to upholding freedom of religion.
But the CTA’s failures are more dire than that. It has also shown gross incompetence and corruption. Fifty-seven years after the Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama into exile in India, the CTA still demonstrates incapability in improving the welfare and living conditions of the 27 Tibetan refugee settlements in India that are homes to an estimated 150,000 Tibetans. All this time, the Tibetan leadership bask in comfort and ride on their well-oiled propaganda machine against China. The CTA has also failed to show proof of propriety in managing aid and funds they have collected from around the world over decades. This has pushed American Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher to highlight in a letter his concerns about the manipulations and dishonesty of the Tibetan leadership. Most Tibetans who have hoped all their lives to return to their homeland do not realize that it is the CTA that undermines the people’s march to freedom.
While waiting anxiously for Trump’s ‘favourable’ reply, the new INTERPOL appointment creates more anxiety for the CTA. The CTA has benefitted from propaganda that demonized China but the appointment of Meng as top police chief of the world signals a change in global attitudes towards China. Whilst critics of China remain vocal, the nations who are constituents of INTERPOL have voted.
The CTA is now more isolated than ever and has no independent capabilities to match a rising China in spite of half a century of global support. There are obvious signs that the world leaders are turning their heads away from the CTA and instead prefer to cooperate with China for both political and economic reasons. After all, China has so much more to offer compared to the CTA who have taken so much from the world, without contributing back.
What is in store for the CTA?
Considering the abysmal record of the CTA in improving the welfare of Tibetans-in-exile and not even hesitating to ban a religion and incite hatred against their own people, the CTA faces a bleak future as the world turns away and the enemy that they have demonized is now the head of INTERPOL, capable of investigating all the CTA’s illegal activities.
At the cost of their people’s welfare and unity, as well as the communities of Tibetan Buddhists around the world, the CTA created a scapegoat for their failures, blaming Dorje Shugden for their woes, all the while collecting millions in aid around the world. The impact of these negatives actions, has now born its results in the form of disharmony. Donald Trump’s recent win in the United States election and the appointment of Meng Hongwei as the new INTERPOL Chief would most likely result in an increase of unfavorable situations for the CTA.
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