Interpol president Meng Hongwei has resigned, according to reports by various news outlets on Sunday, October 7.
The surprise announcement comes just over a week after Meng’s wife reported him missing, after he left France to travel home to China. His wife later reported that the last communication she received with him was a text message containing the knife emoji.
On Monday, October 8, China’s Ministry of Public Security released a statement confirming that Meng had been detained by party authorities upon his arrival in China as part of an anti-corruption probe. According to a translation of the press release by the Associated Press, the Minister of Public Security, Zhao Lezhi, stated that “[w]e should deeply recognize the serious damage that Meng Hongwei’s bribe-taking and suspected violations of the law have caused the party and the cause of public security and deeply learn from this lesson.” The statement also said that Meng’s alleged corruption had “definitely dealt a blow to China’s image.”
China has not released further details on the charges against Meng, and observers suspect they are politically motivated. The Economist noted that the language in the Ministry of Public Security’s statement stressed the need for “absolute loyalty” and “resolute support” to Xi Jinping. It is also worth nothing that, as of April, Meng was apparently no longer a member of the Ministry of Public Security’s party committee.
China has faced ongoing criticism from human rights bodies for its abuse of Interpol’s “red notice” system. In September of last year, Human Rights Watch penned a letter to the international police agency expressing concerns about China’s misuse of the red notice. “In recent years, the Chinese government, against Interpol’s regulations, has tried to control and persecute dissidents and activists abroad by issuing politically motivated red notices through Interpol,” the letter stated.