Interpol saga hurts China's bid to lead global bodies

Clay Curtis
October 12, 2018

However, Lu Kang told reporters that it would be "natural" for Chinese consular officials to contact the wife of Meng Hongwei, who vanished after traveling to China late last month from France, where Interpol is headquartered. "Many don't have a chance to speak up even if they want to: spouses of officials under investigation, if they're in China, would likely be placed under 24-hour surveillance, [Chinese political expert Willy] Lam said".

But correspondents say that Mr Meng's high-profile position at Interpol was once seen as a prize for Beijing, raising questions about whom he might have angered or what he might have done to be targeted as part of President Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

The first Chinese president of Interpol, Meng was last heard from on September 25 when he left Lyon for China. Interestingly, though Chinese government claims bribery allegation against Mr Meng, another report said Xingjian province of China has been facing separatist movements by Uyghur Muslims since years, which China deals with an iron-hand. 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.

Interpol acknowledged its embarrassment yesterday over China's arrest without warning of the police agency's president, Meng Hongwei, on corruption charges. He was the first Chinese official to become Interpol president, which is based in Lyon.

The public security ministry said Meng's case shows "that no one is above the law" and underscores the need to "thoroughly eliminate the pernicious influence of Zhou Yongkang".

"Interpol's General Secretariat looks forward to an official response from China's authorities to address concerns over the President's well-being".

Interpol said Sunday night that South Korea's Kim Jong Yang, a vice president representing Asia on Interpol's executive committee, would serve as acting president until the organization's general assembly picks a permanent president next month. "I find it regrettable that the top leader of the organization had to go out this way and that we weren't specifically notified of what was happening in advance", Kim said in a phone interview.

The revelation that Chinese authorities would be bold enough to forcibly make even a senior public security official with global stature disappear has cast a shadow over the image Beijing has sought to cultivate as a modern country with the rule of law.

Stress, Apprehension Not Managed, Could Leads To Mental Illness
Also, the common man is over-stressed with family responsibilities and work pressure, and has less time to socialise and de-stress.

The probe "fully shows there is no privilege and no exception in front of the law, and anyone who violates the law must be severely punished", the ministry added.

After she raised the alarm about her husband, the French police began making inquiries and Interpol demanded information from China.

"From now on, I have gone from sorrow and fear to the pursuit of truth, and responsibility toward history", she said, speaking in Chinese. "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".

On Monday, days after Meng was reported missing by his wife, Chinese authorities accused him of bribery in a lengthy statement stressing the importance of the country's "anti-corruption struggle" and the need for "absolute loyal political character".

The Chinese president promised it would catch both "tigers and flies" - the powerful as well as ordinary citizens - and has brought down top officials like ex-Politburo Standing Committee member and former security tzar Zhou Yongkang.

Meng, 64, was named to the post of Interpol president in late 2016, part of a broader Chinese effort to gain leadership positions in key global organizations.

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.

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