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China and the case of the Interpol chief

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China and the case of the Interpol chief

China has yet to give any details of the corruption charges against Meng Hongwei, the president of Interpol, who disappeared on a visit home and was later said to have been arrested, writes the Editorial commentator of The New York Times . Whatever the charges are, they are almost certainly not the real reason for his fate. In China, the law is what the Communist Party says it is — more precisely, what President Xi Jinping says it is. And when an official of Mr. Meng’s global stature is nabbed, it’s a political decision — even if, coincidentally, he was corrupt, as is often the case in China. Mr. Meng understood the rules of that game. He had been a vice minister of public security in a police state and had played a role in many operations, including Operation Fox Hunt, which tried to bring Chinese officials and businesspeople suspected of corruption back from abroad. Interpol has asked Beijing for an explanation for Mr. Meng’s detention but has taken no further action. The agency issued a statement on Sunday that it had accepted his resignation as president “with immediate effect” and named a replacement. Whatever else he was, Mr. Meng was the president of Interpol, a venerable international organization based in France that facilitates cooperation among police forces from its 192 member countries. The position of president is largely ceremonial — a secretary general, currently Jürgen Stock of Germany, runs day-to-day operations. But the selection of a Chinese official for the post was a major feather in China’s cap, proudly hailed by Mr. Xi a year ago as evidence that China “abided by international rules.” —The New York Times

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