disappeared” while in China two weeks ago, only to later be confirmed as detained and under investigation by Chinese Communist Party officials.n a truly extraordinary sequence of events, Interpol has announced the resignation of its president after he “
Meng Hongwei, 64, was elected president of the international policing organization in 2016. He also served as vice minister of public security in China, making regular trips from his home country to Lyon, France, where Interpol is based.
Last week, his wife, Grace Meng, reported him as missing to French police, explaining that she had not heard from her husband since he arrived in China the week before. At a press conference on Sunday, she said that the last text message she had received from him was the image of a knife, which she took as a sign that he was in danger. The image came minutes after he had texted her to wait for his call.
While Meng’s “disappearance” first made international news on Friday. It was not until nearly midnight on Sunday that China finally provided an explanation, releasing a one-sentence statement which said that Meng was under the “monitoring and investigation” of anti-corruption party investigators.
A short time later, Interpol released a short, strange statement of its own, declaring that it had received Meng’s resignation. The policing organization did not explain how they received the resignation notice and how they determined its authenticity. It also did not note any concern over whether the former president had been forced to resign under duress, or just how incredibly bizarre the whole situation was.
Many international observers were alarmed by Meng’s election as president of Interpol in 2016, worrying that he might shift the international policing organization’s focus and resources over to investigations favored by Beijing, such as hunting down political dissidents or outspoken tycoons who had fled China.
However, it turns out that they should have also been concerned that the Interpol president would be suddenly “disappeared” by his own bosses. It’s not clear exactly what sort of crimes Meng is being accused of, but it’s hard to see a good outcome for either him or China. The former president of an organization like Interpol being imprisoned on corruption charges would not be a good look for future Communist Party members hoping to head international organizations.
China has an infamous history of arbitrary and shady detentions — including the recent months-long disappearance of the country’s most famous actress— which has spurred concern among observers and dread among family members.
“From now on, I have gone from sorrow and fear to the pursuit of truth, justice and responsibility toward history,” Grace Meng said at her press conference on Sunday. “For the husband whom I deeply love, for my young children, for the people of my motherland, for all the wives and children, so that their husbands and fathers will no longer disappear.”
It’s unclear what French police will now do with their investigation into Meng’s “disappearance.” Meanwhile, Interpol has announced plans to elect a new president next month, apparently unconcerned about the fate of its last one.