- 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.
- 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’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.
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.