Saturday, February 23, 2019 | ePaper

President of INTERPOL arrested in China: Proper explanation needed

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THE Chinese authorities said on Monday that the President of INTERPOL Meng Hongwei who vanished while on a trip home last month has been arrested on suspicion of taking bribes. In a statement posted on a government website, officials said Mr Meng was being investigated by the National Supervision Commission, the agency responsible for handling corruption among public servants, due to his own "wilfulness and for bringing trouble upon himself". Against this backdrop, the INTERPOL on Sunday night announced the resignation of Mr Meng with immediate effect.
Mr Meng was first reported missing in late September after travelling from INTERPOL HQ  France to China. His wife has revealed that he sent her a text message with a knife emoji (danger sign) on the day he went missing. If the Chinese government's statement is correct then Mr Meng, also a vice-minister for public security in China, will be the latest high-profile target to be ensnared in a sweeping anti-corruption campaign.
What is significant is that detention of high-profile persons is nothing new in China and usually the Chinese authorities bring the charge of "violating party rules" against them. In line with this policy, the China anti-corruption body has targeted thousands of people in a relentless drive led by President Xi Jinping. There are also rumours that Mr Meng may have been purged because of his links to another senior party figure out of favour with the leadership.
Interestingly, though Chinese government claims bribery allegation against Mr Meng, another report said Xingjian province of China has been facing separatist movements by Uyghur Muslims since years, which China deals with an iron-hand. The INTERPOL headed by Mr Meng had withdrawn the "red corner notice" against a Uyghur Muslim leader in February. After that China was very unhappy with Mr Meng. However, the real truth is not yet known.
Presently, the Chinese nationals hold top positions at several global institutions including the UN, IMF, World Bank and UNESCO.  It is widely apprehended that detention of Mr Meng would raise some concern among international institutions and they could show reluctance in appointing Chinese officials to high positions in future.
                       

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