The Chinese Communist Party’s top anti-corruption body has published details of the “decadent” and “extravagant” lifestyle that it says former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei led before his downfall.
It is unusual for the authorities to release such details despite the large number of officials who have fallen foul of the watchdog in recent years, and one observer said the move was designed to make an example of him.
Meng served as the Interpol president between 2016 and 2018, when he disappeared on a trip home from the international police agency’s headquarters in France.
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He was convicted of accepting bribes totalling 14.5 million yuan (US$2 million) by a court in Tianjin in January this year and jailed for 13½ years. State media reported at the time that he had admitted the charges and would not appeal.
A book listing some of the cases investigated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China’s top anti-graft body, has been circulating among senior and mid-ranking officials since late last year.
It includes a section about Meng that says he lived a decadent life long before he became the Interpol chief.
The chapter, which has been seen by the South China Morning Post, portrayed him as an “arrogant and extravagant” person who treated his subordinates as his “personal servants”.
“Ever since he began indulging in lust and pleasure, and chasing after an extravagant lifestyle, Meng Hongwei allowed himself to open up to corrupt ideas … trading power for privileges,” the book said. “In the end he fell into the ‘black hole’ of corruption.”
It claimed that Meng had assigned military officers to act as his family’s “personal servants, cooks and babysitters” while he was head of the marine police and vice-minister for public security.
“After he became the Interpol president, Meng, using excuses like overseas assignments, arranged for a number of cadres and active army officers to serve him and his family in Lyon of France,” it said.
“He also turned a blind eye to his wife’s vice. Instead of educating her, Meng made use of his power to arrange for her to take up [senior] positions at several companies earning high salaries.”
The book also claimed that Meng “took over” five vehicles registered with the military for his family to use.
“Since Meng’s wife was especially fond of one car, Meng asked the military to loan him the vehicle, which eventually became his wife’s personal car and was never returned,” it added.
The book, which is not available in public bookstores, has been distributed among party cadres with the rank of deputy department head or higher.
His wife, Grace Meng, has denied the Chinese authorities’ claims, saying her husband was a victim of political persecution.
She reported her husband missing to French police in October 2018 after he vanished on a trip back to China and sent her an emoji of a knife. She and her sons have since been granted asylum.
Grace Meng, wife of fallen Interpol head Meng Hongwei, sues the police agency for ‘failing to assist her’
Alfred Wu, an associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, said Meng’s actions may not be “uncommon” but it was rare for the authorities to publish such details.
But he said the authorities may have wished to make an example of him to reinforce discipline.
“[President] Xi Jinping is pushing hard to fight corruption and enforce discipline in the army and police force in order to raise their combat readiness because [he sees] them as the pillars for the party in maintaining the regime’s stability,” he said.
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More from South China Morning Post:
- China sets up task force to boost political policing amid threats to stability
- China’s anti-graft watchdog investigates police chief of scandal-ridden Chongqing
- China reveals mountain of bribes seized from fallen Communist Party boss Zhao Zhengyong
- China’s ex-Interpol president Meng Hongwei jailed for 13½ years for corruption