Interpol Chief 'Resigns' After China Admits to Kidnapping Him

Howard TerryOct 12, 2018

The national Commission of oversight, which is investigating the case of Mr. Meng, can keep suspects incommunicado for six months, without warning their families or give them access to a lawyer. The appeal - especially unusual for senior Chinese officials - cast an unwelcome light on extralegal detentions that have increasingly ensnared dissidents and allegedly corrupt or disloyal officials alike under President Xi Jinping's authoritarian administration.

Meng, the Vice Minister in the powerful Pubic Security Ministry, was elected as the first Chinese Interpol chief in November 2016.

China tight-lipped on disappeared Interpol chief China remained silent Saturday over the disappearance of the head of Interpol, deepening the mystery over the worldwide police chief's fate after reports said he was detained for questioning on arrival in his homeland. "It also specifically mentioned that there is no privilege or exception before the law".

Interpol announced Sunday that Meng had resigned as president of the global police agency, effective immediately, shortly after China announced that Meng was under investigation. And he had a hand in Chinese police operations that reached overseas, including Operation Fox Hunt, which sought to repatriate hundreds of former Chinese officials and businesspeople who had fled overseas and were suspected of corruption.

"We should deeply recognize the serious damage that Meng Hongwei's bribe-taking and suspected violations of the law have caused the party and the cause of public security and deeply learn from this lesson", the announcement stated.

Meng's unexplained disappearance in China late last month, which had prompted the French government and Interpol to make their concerns known publicly, threatened to tarnish Beijing's image.

"Observers in China say the fact that Beijing is willing to jeopardize its diplomatic relations by detaining Meng in this way suggests the stakes are high", NPR's Rob Schmitz reported from Shanghai. "Under the terms of INTERPOL's Constitution and Internal regulations, the Senior Vice-President serving on INTERPOL's Executive Committee, Mr. Kim Jong Yang of South Korea, becomes the Acting President". "We still don't have sufficient information about what's happening or whether it has anything to do with Chinese domestic politics".

Questions about Meng's case dominated a regular briefing by China's foreign ministry on Monday.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Monday that China would continue to act as a "responsible power" that will "play its necessary role in worldwide affairs and multilateral organisations".

"This is the last, last message from my husband", she said.

French media also reported that Meng's husband had recently sent her a mobile phone message featuring a knife image, as a way of showing her that he felt he was in danger.

She pledged to pursue "truth, justice and responsibility toward history" for her husband and young children's sake, and "for all the wives and children, so that their husbands and fathers will no longer disappear".

But it was not until Monday that Chinese authorities revealed that Meng was being investigated for taking bribes, without providing details about the charges or his whereabouts.

It seems, from a Western perspective, that Chinese officials must have feared something significant to have taken an action that has not only jeopardised Meng's successes at Interpol but also further tarnished China's global reputation.

China's move to go after the Interpol president, an official with worldwide standing, was unusually audacious even for an administration that under Xi's leadership has sought to assert its interests more aggressively on the global stage.

At Monday's meeting, officials were told that they "must always maintain the political quality of being absolutely loyal to the party", the statement said.

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