Sunday 20 October 2019

Interpol president ‘suspected of violating the law in China’

The wife of Meng Hongwei has said her husband sent her an image of a knife before he disappeared during a trip to their native China.

Interpol president Meng Hongwei is under investigation in China (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Interpol president Meng Hongwei is under investigation in China (Andrew Matthews/PA)

By Associated Press Reporter

The Chinese president of Interpol is under investigation on suspicion of breaking the law, authorities in China said.

The Communist Party’s watchdog for corruption and political disloyalty said that Meng Hongwei, China’s vice minister of public security, is “suspected of violating the law and is currently under the monitoring and investigation” of the country’s new anti-corruption body, the National Supervision Commission.

Interpol said that Mr Meng had resigned as president of the agency’s executive committee with immediate effect but did not say why.

The wife of Mr Meng has said her husband sent her an image of a knife before he disappeared during a trip to their native China.

Making her first public comments on the mystery surrounding Meng Hongwei’s whereabouts, Grace Meng told reporters in Lyon, France – where Interpol is based – that she thinks the knife was her husband’s way of trying to tell her he was in danger.

She said she has had no further contact with him since the message that was sent on September 25.

She said four minutes before Mr Meng shared the image, he sent a message saying “wait for my call”.

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Grace Meng, the wife of missing Interpol president Meng Hongwei, has spoken of her fears (John Leicester/AP)

Mr Meng’s wife said he had travelled back to China for work.

“His job is very busy,” she said. “We connected every day.”

The Lyon-based international police agency said on Saturday it has used law enforcement channels to inquire with China about Mr Meng’s status.

Mrs Meng would not speculate on what might have happened to him. Asked if she believed that he has been arrested, she said: “In China, what happened, I’m not sure.”

She read a statement during her press conference in Lyon but would not allow reporters to show her face, saying she feared for her own safety and the safety of her two children.

“From now on, I have gone from sorrow and fear to the pursuit of truth, justice and responsibility toward history,” she said.

“For the husband whom I deeply love, for my young children, for the people of my motherland, for all the wives and children’s husbands and fathers to no longer disappear.”

The appeal by Mr Meng’s wife for justice and fairness echoed pleas from the families of scores of people who fell foul of the Chinese Communist Party under President Xi Jinping’s rule. Some of them might have been pursued by Chinese authorities under Mr Meng’s watch.

Such targets, who have been subject to arbitrary detention and unexplained disappearances, include pro-democracy activists, human rights lawyers, officials accused of corruption or political disloyalty and the estimated one million ethnic minority Muslims who have vanished into internment camps in the country’s far west.

Mr Xi, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, has overseen a harsh crackdown on civil society that is aimed at stopping dissent and activism among lawyers and rights advocates.

He has also used a popular and wide-ranging anti-corruption campaign to boost supervision of the party and as a powerful weapon with which to purge his political opponents.

PA Media

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