China confirms detaining missing ex-Interpol chief

Former Interpol head Meng Hongwei

Modal Trigger Meng Hongwei AP

The Chinese president promised it would catch both "tigers and flies" - the powerful as well as ordinary citizens - and has brought down top officials like ex-Politburo Standing Committee member and former security tzar Zhou Yongkang.

Meng, 64, has been accused by the Chinese government of accepting bribes and committing unspecified other crimes.

A French judicial official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to the AP that police are investigating the threat against Grace Meng, but said the probe has yet to determine whether there were indeed Chinese teams sent to Lyon.

Monday's statement on the ministry of public security's website provided no details about the bribes Meng allegedly took or other crimes he is accused of, but suggested that he was also being investigated for political lapses.

The public security ministry released a statement, saying the development "clearly expressed comrade Xi Jinping's" determination to fully carry out the struggle against graft. He has been designated as the core leader and a constitutional amendment has removed the two-term limit for President paving the way for him to be leader for life.

Rising politicians, PLA generals and top-notch government officials have been jailed for corruption.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, which oversees law enforcement, its executives emphasized the necessity of removing the "poison" of Zhou.

"We should resolutely oppose corruption and resolutely eliminate the pernicious influence of Zhou Yongkang", the statement by the Ministry of Public Security 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 global organizations.

"The case is under investigation".

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"Meng Hongwei is being investigated for violations of laws".

The Chinese effort to track down corrupt officials overseas, known as Operation Fox Hunt, has led to claims in some countries that Chinese law enforcement agents have been operating covertly on their soil without the approval or consent of local authorities. 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.

"It's been said that anticorruption is about putting power into a cage", Luo Changping, a former Chinese investigative reporter who exposed high-level corruption, said in an interview.

Meng is the latest high-ranking official to fall victim to a sweeping crackdown by the ruling Communist Party on graft and perceived disloyalty.

Despite his good work, more than a few members of the Interpol executive committee were concerned that China was using the global policing organisation to pursue dissidents and outspoken members of its diaspora. "China will continue support Interpol and step up cooperation in fighting crimes", he said.

Meng is the latest high-ranking official, and one with an unusually prominent worldwide standing, to fall victim to a sweeping crackdown by the ruling Communist Party on graft and perceived disloyalty.

Asked whether Meng's wife who is still in France has been informed, Lu said he has no information to offer on the matter. Interpol later said it had received his resignation, effective immediately. For the time being, at least, there's a big question mark over the future of Chinese financial support for Interpol's reform agenda.

The acting president of Interpol, Kim Jong Yang, said it had not been told about the investigation of its chief.

One of China's best-known actresses, Fan Bingbing, reappeared following a lengthy disappearance in the past week, admitting to tax evasion and promising to pay a large fine. "It demonstrates China's resolve to pursue law-based state governance and combat corruption", spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Monday.

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