Meng Hongwei

Last updated
Meng Hongwei
孟宏伟
President of Interpol
In office
10 November 2016 7 October 2018
Secretary-General Jürgen Stock
Preceded by Mireille Ballestrazzi
Succeeded by Kim Jong Yang
Vice-Minister of Public Security of China
In office
10 April 2004 7 October 2018
Minister Zhou Yongkang
Meng Jianzhu
Guo Shengkun
Zhao Kezhi
Premier Wen Jiabao
Li Keqiang
Deputy Director of the State Oceanic Administration of China
In office
18 March 2013 8 December 2017
Premier Li Keqiang
Director Liu Cigui
Wang Hong
Director of the China Coast Guard
In office
18 March 2013 8 December 2017
Premier Li Keqiang
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
BornNovember 1953 (age 65)
Harbin, Heilongjiang, China
NationalityChinese
Political party Communist Party of China (until April 2018)
Spouse(s)Grace Meng
Children2
Residence Beijing
Lyon
Alma mater Peking University and
Central South University
OccupationPolitician, police officer
ProfessionLaw

Meng Hongwei (simplified Chinese :孟宏伟; traditional Chinese :孟宏偉; pinyin :Mèng Hóngwěi; born November 1953) is a Chinese politician who was the president of Interpol from 2016 to 2018. He also served as vice-minister of Public Security in China from 2004 to 2018. Meng purportedly resigned in absentia in October 2018 via Chinese officials [1] after he was detained and accused of taking bribes by Chinese anti-corruption authorities. [2] His arrest and detention and the apparent lack of due process raised questions about the Chinese government's law enforcement tactics. [3]

Contents

Early life and career

Meng was born in Harbin, Heilongjiang, in 1953. [4] He entered the workforce in 1972 and joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1975. [5] He graduated from Peking University with a Bachelor's degree in law and obtained a Master's degree from Central South University. [5]

He has 40 years of experience in criminal justice and policing. [6] He served as Vice-Minister of Public Security from 2004 [5] until his arrest in 2018. He served as Director of the Maritime Police Bureau and Deputy Director of China's State Oceanic Administration from 2013 until 2017. [5] In April 2018, without explanation, he was relieved of his membership of the Communist Party committee at the Ministry of Public Security. It was unclear whether this was due to his declining political fortunes or due to his age. [4]

Interpol

In 2004, Meng became the head of Interpol's China branch. [4]

He was elected as President of Interpol on 10 November 2016, [7] becoming the first Chinese head of the agency. His election was viewed as a success for China's ambitions to gain influence within international organisations. [8] Dissidents feared that China would use Meng to track exiled opponents. [9] During his presidency, the Chinese government submitted extensive lists of officials and business people wanted for questioning on allegations of corruption, which critics claimed were politically motivated. His term as president was due to last until 2020, but he resigned in October 2018 after being detained by Chinese authorities. [10]

Detention

Meng left France on 20 September 2018, and landed in China on a flight from Stockholm on 25 September. [9] The same day Meng sent his wife Grace an emoji of a knife, [11] [12] suggesting that he was in danger. [13] On 4 October, she reported him missing to the French police. [6] She was given police protection after being threatened by phone and Internet. [14]

The South China Morning Post , a Hong Kong newspaper, reported that Meng had been taken away for questioning by "discipline authorities" on his arrival in China. [6] French newspaper Le Parisien added that he was under investigation in China, suspected of favouring a company in a cybersecurity procurement. [9]

On 6 October, Interpol officially demanded to know Meng's status from the Chinese government. [8] The next day, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced that Meng was being investigated by the National Supervisory Commission, an anti-corruption agency, for allegedly taking bribes, [15] [16] and that a task force would be set up to pursue his alleged associates. Meng was also accused of "willfulness", which public administration expert Zhu Lijia said might indicate that he "may not have strictly toed the party lines". [17]

Interpol also received Meng's letter of resignation, with immediate effect, and said the organisation's acting senior vice president, Kim Jong Yang of South Korea, would be acting president until a permanent replacement was elected at a meeting in Dubai in November 2018. [18] [19] [8] Interpol's press release did not mention whether Meng had resigned under duress. [10] Grace Meng has threatened Interpol with legal action over its lack of investigation into the authenticity of the resignation. [20]

On 26 October, Meng was removed from the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body. [21]

References

  1. Graham-Harrison, Emma (2018-11-18). "'It's not justice': wife of detained Interpol chief faces down China". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  2. "China accuses ex-Interpol chief Meng of bribery and corruption". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  3. "Interpol Demands Answers From China About Its Missing President". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  4. 1 2 3 Associated Press (5 October 2018). "Missing Interpol president deeply rooted in China's security". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Meng Hongwei 孟宏伟". China Vitae. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 "Interpol chief Meng Hongwei vanishes on trip to China". BBC News. 5 October 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  7. 公安部副部长孟宏伟当选新一任国际刑警组织主席. Xinhuanet (in Chinese). Retrieved 2016-11-10.
  8. 1 2 3 Edward Wong; Alissa J. Rubin (7 October 2018). "Interpol President is Detained by China and has Quit His Post". The New York Times . Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  9. 1 2 3 "Le président d'Interpol soupçonné de corruption par la Chine". Le Parisien (in French). 6 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  10. 1 2 Gerry Shih; James McAuley (8 October 2018). "Interpol president who vanished in China has resigned". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  11. Rudy Ruitenberg; Lynn Chen (7 October 2018). "Interpol President Is Being Probed for Illegal Conduct, China Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  12. John Leicester; Gillian Wong (7 October 2018). "Wife says Interpol officer sent knife image as danger signal". AP News. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  13. Chris Buckley; Aurelien Breedon (5 October 2018). "Head of Interpol Disappears, and Eyes Turn Toward China". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  14. "Meng Hongwei: China accuses Interpol chief of bribery". BBC News. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  15. "Interpol Chief Meng Hongwei Quits and Is Detained by China". The New York Times. 7 October 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  16. Choi Chi-yuk; Matt Ho (8 October 2018). "China accuses former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei of taking bribes". South China Morning Post . Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  17. Express Web Desk (8 October 2018). "Missing Interpol President Meng Hongwei resigns, new chief to be elected in November". Indian Express. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  18. Eliott C. McLaughlin; Saskya Vandoorne; Ben Westcott (8 October 2018). "Chinese government admits head of Interpol 'under investigation' after disappearance". CNN. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  19. Graham-Harrison, Emma (2018-11-18). "Wife of detained Interpol chief faces down China". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  20. 公安部原副部长孟宏伟被撤销政协委员资格 [Former vice-minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei is being disqualified from the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference]. ifeng (in Chinese). 2018-10-27.
Positions in intergovernmental organisations
Preceded by
Mireille Ballestrazzi
President of Interpol
2016–2018
Succeeded by
Kim Jong Yang