Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Ex-Interpol chief latest target of China's anti-graft drive

Ex-Interpol chief latest target of China's anti-graft drive

Chinese authorities say they are investigating the former president of Interpol for bribery and other crimes and indicate that political transgressions may have also landed him in trouble.

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

"This matter belongs to the worldwide community", Meng told a press conference in English.

Meng is the latest "tiger" to fall in the anti-corruption campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping. By September 2017, the Chinese government had over 3,000 active investigations being actioned through Interpol, with some 200 red notices-international arrest warrants-submitted by Chinese authorities.

China's new National Supervision Commission said Mr Meng was being investigated for "violation of laws". Most officials investigated by anti-graft authorities are quietly spirited away for questioning, cut off from contact from their families and not allowed access to lawyers, sometimes for months.

Meng's disappearance is the latest high-profile one in China, where a number of top government officials, billionaire business magnates, and even an A-list celebrity have vanished for weeks or months at a time.

Vice-President Federal Criminal Police Office and German candidate for the post of Secretary General of Interpol Jurgen Stock poses during the 83rd Interpol General Assembly, at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, November 4, 2014.

"Today, Sunday 7 October, (at) the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France received the resignation of Mr Meng Hongwei as President of Interpol with immediate effect", Interpol said in a statement on Sunday.

At Interpol, Meng was expected to serve a four-year term until 2020.

When Mr Meng was appointed two years ago, one newspaper here wrote that it would "promote understanding overseas of China's justice system". "The brazenness with which China operates outside all concept or procedure of worldwide norms is really concerning". His appointment prompted concern at the time from rights groups that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents overseas.

She said the only clue the caller gave about his identity was saying that he used to work for Meng, suggesting that the man was part of China's security apparatus.

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Cheng Xiaohe, a professor of worldwide relations at people's University in Beijing, acknowledges that the case "tarnish" the image of China.

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. Kim Jong-yang of South Korea was appointed interim president on Sunday and made the agency's first comment on the affair.

"We still don't have sufficient information about what's happening (with Meng) or whether it has anything to do with Chinese domestic politics", he told the Associated Press.

The public security ministry released a statement Monday afternoon, saying Meng accepted bribes and that the investigation "clearly expressed comrade Xi Jinping's" determination to fully carry out the struggle against graft.

Officials at the meeting were told that they "must always maintain the political quality of being absolutely loyal to the party", the statement said.

At a regular news briefing on Monday, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Lu Kang, said that China's commitment to global police cooperation would not be dented by Mr. Meng's fall. The spokesman, Lu Kang, rejected the suggestion that China's handling of the Meng probe would hurt the country's image overseas, saying that it demonstrated Beijing's commitment to tackling graft.

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

The second is that the party had lost faith in Meng's loyalty.

Of the knife image, she said: "I think he means he is 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". Chinese government also officially notified the Interpol of this, he said.

It did not provide more details about the allegations.

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