Senior Chinese minister Meng Hongwei elected as Interpol chief

Meng Hongwei is currently China's Vice Public Security Minister.

Senior Chinese public security official elected as Interpol president
Meng Hongwei (right), Chinese Vice Public Security Minister, shakes hands with Nguyen Quang Dam, the commandant of the Vietnam Coast Guard, in Beijing Reuters

Senior Chinese public security official Meng Hongwei was elected as the president of the global police cooperation agency, Interpol, the Chinese state media said.

Vice Public Security Minister Hongwei was selected for the post at the close of the agency's 85th general assembly in Bali, Xinhua said. Meng is the latest official to give China another leading spot on an international agency. He could help to facilitate its high-profile efforts to track down Chinese fugitive officials who have fled the country.

Meng Hongwei will take over the Interpol position from his predecessor Mireille Ballestrazzi from France. Interpol is the second largest international organisation after the United Nations which was founded in 1914. The General Assembly elects the President, who heads its Executive Committee for a period of four years.

China is a member state of Interpol since 1984. It has worked bilaterally with countries around the world, and also through the France-based global police organization, to chase down Chinese suspects as part of President Xi Jinping's drive against deeply rooted corruption.

China issued an Interpol "red notice", the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant, in 2014 for 100 most-wanted Chinese corruption suspects, who fled overseas.

China claims that it has brought back at least one-third of those suspects so far. But, ever since Xi began the crackdown on corruption, China has been seeking more international cooperation to track down suspected fugitives.

However, other western countries have been quite reluctant to extend their helping hands or to sign extradition treaties as they did not want to send people back to a nation where the human rights groups say mistreatment of criminal suspects remains to be one of the biggest problems.

These countries also complain that China is not willing to provide proves of their crimes.

The critics say President Xi's anti-graft efforts are more about taking action against his political enemies rather than actual criminals.