Interpol chief's arrest shows one-party rule is the only important thing to China

Beijing's forced disappearance of one of China's most prominent international officials shows the government...

Posted: Oct 11, 2018 1:43 PM
Updated: Oct 11, 2018 1:43 PM

Beijing's forced disappearance of one of China's most prominent international officials shows the government appears ready to sacrifice anything, including its international reputation, to safeguard the Chinese Communist Party.

Meng Hongwei, head of the international policing organization Interpol, vanished after he flew back to China in late September, only for Beijing to announce in recent days he was being held for corruption.

Arrests

Asia

China

Continents and regions

Corruption

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

East Asia

Government and public administration

Government organizations - Intl

Interpol

Law and legal system

Law enforcement

Political Figures - Intl

Politics

Society

Xi Jinping

Beijing

Political parties

The first Chinese official to reach the top of Interpol, Meng's appointment just two years ago had been seen as a victory for Beijing and was widely celebrated in state media.

"You've got the head of Interpol being arrested at home on corruption, so that's pretty embarrassing," Richard McGregor, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute, told CNN.

"Secondly it just displays, on a wide screen, all the problems with China's domestic political system and how that plays out in the rest of the world when the two are lined up against each other."

Unusually, the statement released by the Chinese government confirming Meng had been detained under suspicion of corruption didn't just mention the charges. It also stressed the importance of loyalty to both Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Party's leadership.

Michael Caster, human rights advocate with Safeguard Defenders, told CNN he found the wording of the Chinese statement "really alarming."

"I think it's very concerning (that) China thinks it can abduct and arbitrarily detain the sitting head of an international organization without serious consequences," said Caster.

"Not only is it pointing out the supposed criminal violation, its ... emphasizing that ultimately Meng Hongwei was serving at the discretion of the Communist Party, which is headed by Xi Jinping," added Caster.

'An extension of the party'

Meng's disappearance is just the latest high-profile arrest in Xi's long running anti-corruption campaign, now orchestrated by the powerful National Supervision Commission (NSC).

Top security officials, leading politicians and military generals have all fallen foul of anti-corruption inspectors, which was originally intended to capture both "tigers and flies" -- members of the Party elite once considered untouchable, as well as regular Chinese citizens.

During Xi's six-year tenure, it's estimated over a million officials have been punished. Critics however have suggested that the campaign is simply another tool by which Xi can remove political opponents.

Officially legislated in March, the NSC is a strengthened version of the original Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), with sweeping terms of references which extend its disciplinary reach outside the Communist Party.

"The party is not responsive to the outside world and its only responsive internally. (Meng's arrest) shows the NSC for what it is, an extension of the Party, not a government ministry which embodies greater legal protections," McGregor said.

Even before it was beefed up the anti-corruption campaign had multiple, high-profile victims -- rising political star Sun Zhengcai, senior general Guo Boxiong and security tzar Zhou Yongkang.

China rebuts Western criticism

Chinese state media tabloid Global Times objected strongly to Western reporting of Meng's detention, saying foreign media had "refused to understand" Chinese law.

"The Western media's brouhaha stems from their disrespect for Chinese law and misunderstanding of China's anti-corruption campaign. Wherever China's legal system differs from the West's, they arrogantly regard such differences as flaws," the editorial said.

But McGregor said while China was not alone in putting domestic matters ahead of international concerns, it was the Chinese government's methods which raised warning signals.

"The issue here is not just domestic issues trumping everything else, but it's the nature of the domestic politics, which are opaque and essentially unresponsive to outside pressures," he said.

Caster said the new arrest, coming soon after the disappearance of famous actress Fan Bingbing, who vanished for weeks after questions emerged around possible tax evasion, shows no one is safe from the Communist Party's reach.

"That China feels so emboldened to disappear even one of its most famous actresses ... should be a real wake up call that anyone within China could be next," Caster wrote from CNN in September.

Serving at Xi's discretion

As Xi's hold on power in China continues to tighten, complete obedience to the party and its leadership is being given even greater emphasis in Beijing.

Across the country, officials at all levels of government are encouraged to read and learn from Xi's words, while the president even had a political theory added to China's constitution.

Caster said the Chinese statement, calling for loyalty to Xi, suggested that international representatives of Beijing, even when appointed to neutral organizations, would be extensions of the Communist Party.

"People have been speculating and warning and pointing to these concerns for a very long time, but I think ... (this) really drives those points home," he said.

But despite the disquiet which China's actions in arrest may have caused globally, there is little likelihood of long term consequences for Beijing's actions.

"In the long term, other countries just have to live with China's political system ... There's no way China is going to change its internal (politics) to accommodate the concerns of international organizations," McGregor said.

Lafayette
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 19°
Kokomo
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 18°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 20°
Lafayette
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 19°
Danville
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 27°
Frankfort
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 13°
Frankfort
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 13°
Monticello
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 18°
Monticello
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 18°
Logansport
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 19°
Some snow Wednesday to Wednesday night.....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 614946

Reported Deaths: 9807
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion849231342
Lake45784693
Allen33103560
Hamilton29752316
St. Joseph27572383
Elkhart24496346
Vanderburgh19679255
Tippecanoe18150144
Johnson15234296
Porter14970172
Hendricks14550253
Madison11071223
Clark10852145
Vigo10819185
Monroe9496115
Delaware9193136
LaPorte9173164
Howard8325148
Kosciusko811485
Warrick683399
Hancock6783106
Bartholomew6659100
Floyd6522113
Wayne6194164
Grant6050118
Dubois559081
Boone557968
Morgan551996
Henry512365
Marshall507884
Dearborn488745
Cass487864
Noble476159
Jackson428747
Shelby423381
Lawrence395180
Clinton375845
Gibson375560
Harrison354046
DeKalb351365
Montgomery349754
Knox337839
Miami325244
Steuben315846
Whitley313126
Wabash306951
Adams303636
Ripley301646
Putnam299152
Huntington295760
Jasper293035
White275943
Daviess271776
Jefferson267738
Decatur249983
Fayette249949
Greene242763
Posey241828
Wells237551
LaGrange230363
Scott227939
Clay225032
Randolph215848
Jennings200937
Spencer193622
Sullivan193633
Washington189023
Fountain185227
Starke177044
Jay168723
Owen168338
Fulton165430
Orange161035
Carroll160616
Rush156418
Perry156129
Vermillion150034
Franklin149933
Tipton134433
Parke13098
Pike118826
Blackford112023
Pulaski97937
Newton92621
Brown88835
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin75013
Warren6867
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4967
Unassigned0375

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events