China expels ex-Interpol chief Meng from Communist Party

Beijing (AFP) –


China has expelled former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei from the Communist Party and dismissed him from his official positions, the country's graft watchdog announced Wednesday.

Meng, who served as the vice minister of public security, vanished in September last year during a visit to China from France and was later accused of accepting bribes.

"Meng Hongwei has no party principles... does not report personal matters in accordance with regulations... and refuses to implement the decision of the Party Central Committee," the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement.

Meng had used state assets to support his family's lavish lifestyle while abusing his position to get his wife employment, the watchdog said.

The case has been handed over to the state prosecutor's office, and his "illegal income" has been confiscated, it added.

Meng, the first Chinese head of Interpol, had risen through the ranks of the country's feared security apparatus.

Shortly after his disappearance last year, Beijing informed the international police organisation that Meng had resigned as president, and that he had been charged with accepting bribes.

News of Meng's sacking comes just a day after the country's former head of internet censorship Lu Wei was sentenced to 14 years in prison for bribery.

Meng and Lu are part of a growing group of Communist Party cadres caught in President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign, which critics say has served as a way to remove the leader's political enemies.

In October, the country's public security bureau linked Meng's detention to a broader initiative to "completely remove the pernicious influence" of Zhou Yongkang, a former security tsar who was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets.

Meng was appointed vice security minister by Zhou in 2004.

More than one million officials have been punished so far during Xi's six-year tenure.

Meng's wife Grace last week urged French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss her husband's case with Xi during the Chinese president's official visit to Paris.

In her written appeal, Meng demanded that her husband be allowed to receive visits from his lawyers.

Since her husband's arrest, she has remained in Lyon -- where Interpol's headquarters is based -- under French police protection. She has also applied for asylum in France and said she fears for her life and that of her twin sons.