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Interpol chief Meng Hongwei feared dead after vanishing in China

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MENG HONGWEI
Interpol
President Meng Hongwei.


Wong
Maye-E/AP



  • Interpol president Meng Hongwei went missing after
    traveling to China late last month.
  • A week after his disappearance China said Meng had been
    detained and was being investigated over bribery
    allegations.
  • That same day Interpol also said it had received and
    accepted Meng’s resignation, with no further details.
  • Meng’s wife, Grace, told the BBC on Friday that she was
    “not sure he’s alive.”
  • She added that she had also been threatened on the
    phone, and called China “cruel” and “dirty.”

The Interpol president who vanished in China last month is likely
dead under Beijing’s watch, his wife has said.

Meng Hongwei, a Chinese national who previously worked in the
country’s security services, disappeared after
traveling to his native country on September 29.

His wife Grace, with whom he lives in France, said she had
not heard from her husband since then. And she’s not hopeful
about his fate.

She
told the BBC on Friday
: “I think it is political persecution.
I’m not sure he’s alive. They are cruel. They are dirty,” she
added, referring to Chinese tactics to silence people.

Beijing
confirmed on October 7
 — after a week of silence — that
Meng had been detained and was being investigated over bribery
allegations.

Details of Meng’s alleged violations are not clear, but his
detention appears to be part of a wider “anti-corruption drive”
carried out by President Xi Jinping since his ascendancy to the
Chinese leadership.


Xi Jinping
Meng
Hongwei went missing and is feared dead under China’s watch.
Here, Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a conference in
Xiamen, China, in September 2017.

REUTERS/Fred Dufour/Pool

On the same day China confirmed that it had Meng, Interpol
said it
received and accepted Meng’s resignation
 “with immediate
effect,” without giving further details.

Grace Meng previously denied the bribery allegations, and said
that her husband was detained by Chinese authorities because of
“political persecution,” according
to CNN producer David Gelles
.

Business Insider has contacted Interpol for clarification
over Meng’s resignation and comment on Grace Meng’s latest
remarks.


meng hongwei wife grace meng
Grace
Meng, the wife of Meng Hongwei, in Lyon on October 7. She
declined to show her face.

John
Leicester/AP


Meng Hongwei’s disappearance “shows it means they can do
anything,” Grace Meng said. It isn’t clear what Meng’s wife
thinks he may have done to provoke such an extreme response.

She added that she, too, was being targeted by China.

She told reporters earlier this month that she received a
threatening phone call shortly after Meng’s disappearance, in
which a man told her in Chinese: “You listen, but you don’t
speak. We’ve come in two work teams, two work teams just for
you.”

“I feel very, very surprised,” she told the BBC on Friday. “Why
am I the target?”

She has also said that the last message she received from
her husband was an emoji of a knife — a possible warning that he
was in danger.


meng hongwei grace knife screenshot
A
screenshot of the last message sent by Meng Hongwei to his wife
Grace on September 25, which she showed reporters on October 7.
The message says in Chinese: “Wait for my call,” then four
minutes later had an emoji of a knife.

John Leicester/AP

China has a long history of disappearing public figures,
which have included high-ranking officials as well as
celebrities.

Earlier this year Chinese authorities
publicly disappeared the prominent actress Fan Bingbing
for
three months after she was accused of tax evasion.

She
broke her silence earlier this month
with a groveling apology
to her fans and the Communist Party as the state charged her $129
million in unpaid taxes and fees.

Roderic Wye, an associate fellow at Chatham House and
former first secretary in the British Embassy in Beijing, told
Business Insider earlier this month that public
disappearances were not unusual, especially in politics.

“It is often a sign that someone has got into trouble if they
fail to appear in public doing their normal duties for a period
of time,” he said.

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