China confirms detention of missing Interpol chief

China confirms detention of missing Interpol chief

Responding to a question about Meng Hongwei at a daily briefing, Lu said "relevant people should not attempt to make excuses for their corrupted and criminal acts" by "slandering" the government of President Xi Jinping, who has waged a wide-ranging and politically charged campaign against graft.

Meng, who was also a vice minister of public security in China, was first reported missing in late September after travelling from Interpol's Headquarters in France to China.

In a tearful Tuesday interview with CNN in Lyon, France - where Interpol is headquartered - Grace Meng said her husband is the victim of political "persecution", and voiced grave concern for his safety.

The ministry added that Meng "only had himself to blame" and that "there is no exception in front of the law".

In a separate development, Interpol said it had received Meng's resignation from the global police agency with "immediate effect", according to statement posted on Sunday.

The ministry said Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi convened a midnight Communist Party committee on Monday.

Meng rose through the ranks of the country's domestic security apparatus when it was under the leadership of Zhou Yongkang, a rival to Xi and the highest-ranking official to be brought down on corruption charges.

Interpol said Sunday night that South Korea's Kim Jong Yang, a vice president representing Asia on Interpol's executive committee, would serve as acting president until the organization's general assembly picks a permanent president next month.

"I find it regrettable that the top leader of the organization had to go out this way and that we weren't specifically notified of what was happening in advance", Kim told the AP.

Interpol had asked Chinese authorities for information about Meng Hongwei.

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While acknowledging that Mr. Meng was under detention, the Chinese Foreign Ministry asserted on Monday that the investigation demonstrated Beijing's iron will to crackdown on corruption.

When Meng was named Interpol's president, human rights groups expressed concern that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents overseas.

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.

French media also reported that Meng's husband had recently sent her a mobile phone message featuring a knife image, as a way of showing her that he felt he was in danger. But she has good reason to be fearful: Speaking out about the fate of her high-profile husband risks China's ire and, she said, is putting her "in great danger". "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".

The Chinese Foreign Ministry stoutly defended Beijing's unprecedented move to detain and probe Meng, saying that he is being probed for corruption and links with former security czar Zhou Yongkang now serving a life sentence after being convicted of a series of corruption charges, including bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets.

"We should resolutely oppose corruption and resolutely eliminate the pernicious influence of Zhou Yongkang", it said.

Meng, 64, was named to the post of Interpol president in late 2016, part of a broader Chinese effort to gain leadership positions in key worldwide organizations.

The disappearance an interesting history of the former chinese boss of Interpol, who was prosecuted for corruption in his country, has dealt a blow to the image of Beijing and its ambition to consolidate its presence in the global organizations, according to experts.

At Monday's meeting, officials were told that they "must always maintain the political quality of being absolutely loyal to the party", the statement said.

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