Meng Hongwei, Interpol Chief, Missing on Visit to China

Meng Hongwei, chief of international police force Interpol, has been confirmed as missing in his native China. Hongwei was confirmed by Interpol to have left for China in late September but hasn’t been heard from since he landed. Hongwei’s wife reported him missing after not hearing from him for several days.

menghongwei
South China Morning Post

Meng Hongwei Missing in China

In a statement, Interpol stated that Hongwei’s disappearance is a “matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China.” Interpol is based in Lyon, France. According to reports, the matter is being investigated by the Lyon public prosecutor.

According to local Chinese newspapers, Hongwei was taken in for questioning. The newspapers have not clarified what Hongwei could be questioned for. Reports suggest he is being investigated for something in his native China.

China’s Disappearing Acts

Meng Hongwei isn’t the first Chinese native to be “disappeared” by the authorities. A few months ago, Fan Bingbing, a movie star, went missing in her native country as well. The Chinese authorities apparently wanted her for questioning regarding back taxes and unpaid tax fees. An uncharacteristic and unusual apology on her social media followed her disappearance.

This trend is unsettling to many Western observers. Western concepts like due process and unlawful search and seizure make incidents such as these frightening to consider. Additionally, Fan’s whereabouts are still unknown, which is quite unsettling to her numerous fans.

Related Incidents

Last week, a similar incident occurred in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. There, a notable columnist for the Washington Post named Jamal Khashoggi went missing after coming in to do routine paperwork. Khashoggi, a notable critic of the Saudi Crown Prince, had to leave his cellphone outside. At time of writing, his whereabouts are also currently unknown.

These numerous government-headed disappearances are highly disconcerting. Such dramatic overreaches of government power are largely unsettling, and contrary to the idea of a free and interconnected global economy.