China says ex-Interpol chief focus of bribery probe back home

12 October, 2018, 05:56 | Author: Carlos George
  • China says detained former Interpol chief is focus of bribery probe

According to a statement released Monday by China's Ministry of Public Security, Meng is suspected of accepting bribes and is under investigation by the country's anti-corruption agency.

With Julian Ku, a professor at Hofstra University's Maurice A. Deane School of Law, saying Meng's detention suggested China's "domestic considerations outweighed the worldwide ones", as per Slate, the move only appears to confirm that Beijing was covertly inching toward authoritarianism amid an anti-corruption campaign.

The freakish case of the former Interpol president Meng Hongwei, now detained and under investigation in China, has raised concerns about the country's expanded anti-corruption drive.

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".

"The bad allegations made by Mrs. Meng provide the world with a rare window of opportunity to look at the way in which judicial processes are being handled in China", Lam said.

Born in 1953 in northeastern Heilongjiang province, Meng joined the Communist Party of China in his early 20s after graduating from Peking University with a bachelor's degree in law.

So is Meng's arrest part of Xi's crackdown on corruption or a case of an official who crossed a line defined by the Chinese Communist Party? China's courts and prosecutors answer to the Communist Party, and they rarely reject anticorruption investigators' findings.

Concerns over Meng's whereabouts were first raised by wife, Grace, who reported him missing to French authorities in the city of Lyon, where the couple live, last Thursday.

During Xi's six-year tenure, over a million officials have been punished in an anti-corruption crusade that critics say has also served as a way to root out the president's political enemies.

But the episode could be a setback for China.

Bonnie Glaser, senior Asia adviser at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said international organisations "should think twice going forward before considering a Chinese candidate to be its head".

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Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing will continue to support Interpol's work and "strengthen pragmatic cooperation" with its member states to crack down on crime.

Meng was elected Interpol president in November 2016 and he was the first Chinese citizen chosen for the post.

Adding to the intrigue, his wife Grace Meng spoke with her face hidden from cameras in Lyon on Sunday, telling reporters she did not know what had happened to her husband and showing his last text message to her: a knife emoji signalling danger.

That day, his wife said he sent a social media message telling her to "wait for my call", before sending the emoji signifying danger.

On Sunday, Meng's wife made a bold public appeal from France to the global community to help locate her husband.

"Although I can't see my husband, we are always connected by heart", she said.

The commission handles corruption cases involving public servants.

Fallen former Interpol president Meng Hongwei rose through the ranks of China's feared public security apparatus before being caught himself in President Xi Jinping's no-holds-barred campaign against corruption.

It is not known whether Meng was visiting on official business.

Zhou appointed Meng vice security minister in 2004.

As vice security minister, Meng has been entrusted with a number of sensitive portfolios, including the country's counter-terrorism division, and he was in charge of the response to violence in China's fractious northwestern region of Xinjiang. 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.

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