Interpol saga hurts China’s bid to lead global bodies

INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon France

INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon France

"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", Zhao said, in a translation by The Associated Press.

In one ominous sign, several posts on meetings and activities Meng participated in over recent years disappeared from the public security ministry's website Monday as an AFP reporter viewed them-effectively erasing him from the agency's history.

Interpol, with Meng's influence, played an important role in Chinese president Xi Jinping's crackdown on corruption and dissidents.

Meng, who was also a vice minister of public security in China, was first reported missing in late September after travelling from Interpol's Headquarters in France to China.

"If Meng Hongwei weren't an Interpol chief, people would have no idea what kind of a police empire China has become", said Hu, the activist. "It fully shows that there are no special privileges or exceptions before the law".

Interpol said Sunday that Meng had resigned and would be temporarily replaced by a South Korean official until a new election in November - hours after China's anti-graft body, the National Supervisory Commission, said he was under investigation for violating unspecified laws.

But the government's announcement did little to address concerns raised about the risks of appointing Chinese officials to leadership posts in worldwide organizations.

Meng Hongwei could have not only accepted bribes, but also "compromises the national security", assumes Su Wei, a professor in a school of cadres of the communist Party of china (CPC), cited Tuesday by the daily official Global Times.

Meng Hongwei, 64, vanished from public view after taking a flight from France to Beijing in late September.

Meng rose through the ranks of the country's domestic security apparatus when it was under the leadership of Zhou Yongkang, a rival to Xi and the highest-ranking official to be brought down on corruption charges.

"I find it regrettable that the top leader of the organisation had to go out this way and that we weren't specifically notified of what was happening in advance", Mr Kim said.

While acknowledging that Mr. Meng was under detention, the Chinese Foreign Ministry asserted on Monday that the investigation demonstrated Beijing's iron will to crackdown on corruption.

Beijing has so far declined to address Meng's disappearance.

But if corruption was the reason, then it seems reasonable to ask why the Chinese government didn't handle the whole issue through Interpol, as it has done with thousands of other cases.

However, Lu did not directly answer questions about whether Meng would be formally arrested or allowed to hire a lawyer, or receive a visit from his wife.

"For as long as I can't see my husband face to face speaking to me, I can't be very positive", she mentioned, noting that her husband had gone to their motherland for work purposes and asking for the global fraternity's help in finding Meng.

She showed reporters a text message she received from her husband before he disappeared that contained an image of a knife - a warning she took to mean that his life was in danger. "I don't know what has happened to him", she said.

A day after Meng was reported missing, Interpol received his resignation, after Chinese officials said he was under investigation for bribery and "other crimes".

A statement issued by the Ministry of Public Security did not provide details about the allegations against Meng, but hinted that he may have been linked to former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.

The Chinese effort to track down corrupt officials overseas, known as Operation Fox Hunt, has led to claims in some countries that Chinese law enforcement agents have been operating covertly on their soil without the approval or consent of local authorities.

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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