Chinese government admits head of Interpol 'under investigation' after disappearance

  • Chinese government admits head of Interpol 'under investigation' after disappearance

Chinese government admits head of Interpol 'under investigation' after disappearance

In a separate development, Interpol said it had received Meng's resignation from the worldwide police agency with "immediate effect" according to statement posted Sunday. On September 25, he sent his wife, Grace Meng, a knife emoji on WhatsApp, and a message that said, "wait for my call".

The election of Meng Hongwei as head of Interpol in 2016 was a triumph for President Xi Jinping's bid to burnish China's worldwide profile through leadership posts in prestigious global organisations.

"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.

The websites of French papers broadcast video clips showing Meng speaking in a trembling voice, with her back to a TV camera in order to hide her appearance.

The wife of the former Interpol president who disappeared in China revealed that she had received a threatening phone call warning of agents coming for her - but said she would keep fighting for information about her husband's fate. "It concerns the people of my motherland", she said.

Grace Meng, his wife, made an impassioned plea Sunday for help in bringing her husband to safety.

Mrs. Meng was accompanied to the hotel where she held her press conference by two French police officers who were assigned to look after her.

She inferred that her husband was "in danger", she added. He rose through the ranks based on his own merit, she said, and remained an idealist who longed to see the rule of law established in China.

Meng left France, where he lives, to visit family in China in late September.

The statement said Meng's fall highlighted Xi's resolve in cleaning up the ruling Communist Party and stressed the importance of political loyalty to the Party's leadership under Xi. "He would support me in doing this", said Mrs Meng. Her voice trembled with emotion as she read a prepared statement.

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". The anti-corruption body has targeted thousands of people in a relentless drive led by President Xi Jinping.

Meng was a poster boy for the Chinese government's global branding: a qualified and capable Chinese bureaucrat navigating the fine line between worldwide obligations and Chinese policy while serving in an global government organisation.

"Imagine if China were to somehow, someday, get a United Nations secretary general, and then he too one day disappeared", said Michael Caster, a researcher and human rights advocate in Bangkok who studies China's legal system.

Xi, China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, has overseen a harsh crackdown on civil society that is aimed at squelching dissent and activism among lawyers and rights advocates. According to an official toll, more than 1.5 million executives have been sanctioned in the name of this campaign, is suspected of also be used to eliminate internal opponents to the chinese president.

Speculation for the reasons behind Meng's swift downfall ranges from his access to sensitive information after a long career at the public security ministry to his tenure at Interpol, when the organisation revoked an global alert for Dolkun Isa, president of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, which is critical of China's treatment of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang. Presently, the Chinese nationals hold top positions at several global institutions including the UN, IMF, World Bank and UNESCO. It is widely apprehended that detention of Mr Meng would raise some concern among worldwide institutions and they could show reluctance in appointing Chinese officials to high positions in future. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.