Meng Hongweit, the President of Interpol and former Communist Party official went missing in China few days ago. The Chinese government stated that Meng was “under supervision” and was being investigated on bribery charges.
According to Interpol’s statement, Meng Hongweit has resigned from his post “with immediate effect”. Meng was leading Interpol’s policies and agendas with various law enforcement agencies worldwide, and traveled from France to China on September 29 soon after which he was reported missing by his wife who went to Interpol’s headquarters in France on 4th October saying she hadn’t heard from her husband since he landed in China.
In a statement to journalists Meng’s wife reported that Meng sent her a text message with knife emoji which she interpreted as a sign that he might be in danger.
(last text message sent by Meng to his wife )
Chinese authorities have not disclosed what he was accused or how long they will detain him. Meng does not run the day-to-day operations of Interpol but only sets Interpol’s policies and agendas. Interpol’s Secretary Jurgen Stock, according to NPR, is contacting the Chinese authorities to get more information on Meng’s status.
Kim Jong Yang will take over as Interpol president until a new one is appointed. Interpol does not have the authority to arrest criminals but some authoritarian countries like China have used Interpol to identify allegedly corrupt officials, and some say that Meng might also be a part of this anti-corruption investigation.
Most officials in China targeted under anti-graft campaign can vanish for weeks or even months. It’s ironic as China celebrated his ascension to top of Interpol as a sign of its growing global clout in 2016.
“The fact that Meng was ‘disappeared’ without any notice to Interpol will undermine this Chinese global outreach effort.” said Deane School of Law. It is hard to imagine another international organization feeling comfortable placing a Chinese national in charge without feeling nervous that this might happen,” said Julian Ku, a professor at Hofstra University.
China’s authoritarian policies under Xi Jinping administration reveal that China is leaving no stone un-turned in selling itself as a vital international partner and rise to global leadership.