The wife of the former head of Interpol detained by China showed herself for the first time and spoke about the regime: “It is the monster that eats its children”

Grace Meng, the wife of former Interpol president Meng Hongwei, poses for a photo after an interview with the Associated Press in Lyon, central France. (AP Photo / Laurent Cipriani)

On ChinaShe enjoyed the privileges that came from being married to a high-ranking member of the ruling elite. Her husband was a senior police officer in the security apparatus that supports the Communist Party. in power, so confident that China sent it to France to occupy a prestigious position in Interpol.

But Meng Hongwei, former president of Interpol, has disappeared into China’s sprawling penal system, purged in a shocking fall from grace. And his wife is alone with her two twin sons in France, a political refugee under the protection of the French police 24 hours a day, after what she suspects was an attempt by Chinese agents to kidnap them and deliver them to an uncertain destination.

Grace meng she has gone from belonging to being a strange person who looks inside the regime and says she is horrified by what she sees.

So much so that she is now shedding her anonymity, potentially exposing herself and her family to additional risk, to speak out against the authoritarian government of China whom her husband – a deputy minister of public security – served before disappearing in 2018. He was later tried and jailed.

The monster” it is like Meng He speaks now of the government for which he worked. “Because they eat their children”.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Meng She chose for the first time to show her face, agreeing to be filmed and photographed without the dark lighting and rear-facing camera angles that she previously insisted on, in order to speak openly and in unprecedented detail about her husband, herself, and the cataclysm. that separated them.

Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, who disappeared during a visit to China in 2018, was sentenced on January 21, 2020 to more than 13 years in prison for bribery, according to a statement from the court (AFP)
Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, who disappeared during a visit to China in 2018, was sentenced on January 21, 2020 to more than 13 years in prison for bribery, according to a statement from the court (AFP) (HANDOUT /)

I have the responsibility to show my face, to tell the world what happened”, He told the AP. “Over the past three years, I have learned – just like we know how to live with COVID – I know how to live with the monster, the authority”.

Among global critics of China -Many of them are now mobilizing against the J2022 Winter Olympics on Beijing-, Meng brings the unique perspective of a former infiltrator who has stepped through the looking glass and emerged with her views transformed. The change is so profound that he has stopped using his Chinese name, Gao Ge. She says that now she feels more herself like Grace, her chosen name, with her husband’s last name, Meng.

I have died and I have been reborn“, He says.

Upon MengHis whereabouts and health as an incarcerated person who will soon turn 68, is completely in the dark. His last communication was two text messages he sent on September 25, 2018, on a work trip to Beijing. The first said: “Wait for my call”. That was followed four minutes later by a kitchen knife emoji, apparently in danger. She thinks she probably sent them from her office in the Ministry of Public Security.

Since then, he says he has not had any contact with him and that the multiple letters sent by his lawyers to the Chinese authorities have remained unanswered. She’s not even sure he’s alive.

This has already saddened me beyond what can sadden me“, said. “Of course, it is equally cruel to my children”.

I don’t want children to have no father”She added, starting to cry. “When children hear someone knocking on the door, they will always look. I know they expect the person to come in is their father. But each time, when they realize that it is not, they quietly lower their heads. They are extremely brave”.

Grace meng
Grace Meng chose to show her face for the first time since her husband disappeared in China in 2018, agreeing to be filmed and photographed. She did it so she could speak openly and in unprecedented detail about her husband’s incarceration, about herself, and about the cataclysm that separated them. (AP Photo / Laurent Cipriani)

The official news about the fate of Meng They got to know each other by the drop of a hat. A statement in October 2018, just moments after Grace meng met for the first time with journalists in Lyon (France) to sound the alarm about his disappearance, announced that he was being investigated for unspecified legal violations. That signaled that he was the latest high-ranking Chinese official to be the victim of a party purge.

Interpol announced that Meng he had resigned as president, effective immediately. That still infuriates his wife, who says the Lyon it was of no help”. It maintains that by failing to take a stronger stance, the global organization working on shared policing has done little more than encourage the authoritarian behavior of Beijing.

Can someone who has been forcibly disappeared write a resignation letter of their own free will?“, I ask. “Can a police organization turn a blind eye to a typical criminal offense like this?”.

In 2019, China announced that Meng had been stripped of his affiliation to the Communist Party. He said that he had abused his power to satisfy the “extravagant lifestyle”Of his family and that he had allowed his wife to use his authority for personal gain. In January 2020, a court announced that he had been sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison on charges of accepting more than $ 2 million in bribes. The court said he had pleaded guilty and had expressed his regret.

Grace meng
Grace Meng, the wife of former Interpol president Meng Hongwei, displays photos of her parents, front row, and of herself with her husband, as she responds to the Associated Press in Lyon, central France. (AP Photo / Laurent Cipriani)

His wife has long maintained that the accusations were false and that her husband was purged because he had been using his high profile position to drive change.

It is a false case. It is an example of a political disagreement turned into a criminal matter“, said. “The extent of corruption in China today is extremely serious. It is everywhere. But there are two different opinions on how to solve corruption. One is the method used now. The other is to move towards constitutional democracy, to solve the root problem”.

Grace meng he also has political connections through his own family. His mother served on an advisory body for the Chinese legislature. And the family has prior experience of political trauma. After the seizure of power by the Communists in 1949, the grandfather of Grace meng he was stripped of his business assets and later imprisoned in a labor camp, he said.

History, he says, repeats itself.

Of course, this is a great tragedy in our family, a source of great suffering.”, He told the AP. “But I also know that many families in China today face a fate similar to mine.”.

(C) The Associated Press.-


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