China’s Case Against Interpol’s Detained Chief Remains Murky

China’s Case Against Interpol’s Detained Chief Remains Murky
Interpol President Meng Hongwei walks toward the stage to deliver his opening address at the Interpol World Congress in Singapore, July 4, 2017 (AP photo by Wong Maye-E).

Editor’s note: Every Wednesday, WPR’s newsletter and engagement editor, Benjamin Wilhelm, curates the top news and analysis from China written by the experts who follow it.

When Meng Hongwei, China’s vice minister of public security, was elected president of Interpol in 2016, it was hailed in China as a sign of the country’s ability to lead international organizations. But in a dramatic turn of events late last week, his wife reported him missing to French authorities in Lyon—where Interpol has its headquarters—after not hearing from him since he traveled to China in late September. A text message with an ominous knife emoji, which Meng sent her shortly after his arrival in China, was the last she heard from him, a fact she revealed during a news conference in which she hid her face due to concerns for her safety.

Uncertainty about Meng’s whereabouts continued until Sunday, when the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Chinese Communist Party’s watchdog against graft and political disloyalty, revealed that Meng was under investigation on “suspicion of violating the law.” Hours later, Interpol announced that it had accepted Meng’s resignation effective immediately.

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