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Probe of vice-minister proves equal treatment

By ZHANG YAN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-09 07:12

An investigation of Meng Hongwei, vice-minister of public security, whose suspected lawbreaking includes taking bribes, shows China's strong determination to fight corruption, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

"The investigation of Meng is very timely …which shows that there's no privilege or exception in the face of laws, and no person can escape punishment if he or she violates the law," said the statement, released after a ministry meeting chaired by State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi.

The National Supervisory Commission announced late on Sunday that 64-year-old Meng is being investigated for suspected lawbreaking without giving details, but the ministry statement made it clear that he is suspected of taking bribes.

The news received huge attention worldwide because Meng also served as president of Interpol, which is based in France.

In November 2016, Meng was elected president of Interpol at its 85th members' meeting in Indonesia, becoming the first Chinese to hold the post. He was to serve a four-year term.

Before his election as Interpol president, Meng was vice-minister of public security and had served as head of the China Coast Guard. After becoming Interpol president, he still held the position of vice-minister of public security in China.

On Monday, Interpol said in a statement that the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon received Meng's resignation as president of Interpol with immediate effect.

According to the statement, the senior vice-president serving on Interpol's executive committee, Kim Jong Yang of South Korea, became the acting president under the terms of Interpol's Constitution and internal regulations.

Interpol's 87th General Assembly Session will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Nov 18 to 21, at which time the organization will elect a new president for the remaining two years of the current mandate.

On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that China will continue to support Interpol and cooperate with its member states in fighting transnational crimes.

As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a responsible country, China will continue fulfilling its role in international affairs and multilateral institutions, Lu said at a regular news conference.

Speaking of selecting a new head of Interpol, Lu said that China thinks its member states will make reasonable arrangements according to the Constitution of the organization.

Previous high-ranking officials were placed under graft probes by both the National Supervisory Commission and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China, but Sunday's announcement only states that Meng is being investigated by the supervisory commission.

Jiang Laiyong, a researcher at China Anti-Corruption Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the change might be because supervisory inspectors first discovered Meng's suspected illegal acts, and they intervened in a timely fashion.

"During the investigation, if discipline officers found Meng also had violated Party rules, he would face punishment within the Party as well," he said.

According to the statement of the meeting of the Ministry of Public Security on Monday, efforts should be made to fully understand the harm Meng's case has brought to the Party and the public security sector, and draw lessons from it.

There should be a lasting momentum to fight corruption and continuous efforts to build a clean and honest police force, according to the meeting's statement.

It also said the lingering negative effect of Zhou Yongkang must be completely cleared, it said. Zhou, formerly a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee who was in charge of the country's legal affairs, was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2015 for accepting bribes, abusing his power and deliberately disclosing State secrets.

Zhou Jin contributed to this story.

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