China welcomes new Interpol president, says US may be behind internal review

The weekend appointment of China’s Meng Hongwei as Interpol president has been warmly welcomed by the Chinese state-run press. On Saturday, Chinese media outlets applauded the first appointment of a Chinese in the organization’s 140-year history, which initially drew criticism from leaders in the United States and the Netherlands.

On Monday, Meng’s appointment was welcomed by the state-run Global Times, which began its report with this statement: “Today, China is confident that under the leadership of Meng Hongwei, Interpol is going to strengthen its efforts to protect the interests of all relevant countries, regardless of their political stripe or social or economic status.”

Since his naming last week, Interpol has been engulfed in controversy.

On Friday, the organization’s secretary general, Meng Hongwei, departed its headquarters in Lyon, France, after passing out of its building with his wife and two bodyguards.

At the time, Interpol said Meng was removed from the organization because of unspecified “health reasons,” and that it would carry out a review and another inquiry to determine who had accessed his account for private messages.

On Sunday, however, Interpol formally appointed Meng as its new president, a position he is currently held temporarily by the organization’s secretary general.

On Saturday, Reuters reported that officials from the United States, Canada and Europe would attend a G-20 meeting in Argentina in an effort to push President Donald Trump to get behind Interpol’s review, but the United States, fearing it could undermine an investigation into China’s politics and wealth, declined to join.

China is a member of Interpol, and Meng is its Interpol vice president.

China’s outgoing Interpol president, Meng Hongwei, said he was “proud to announce that I will be a part of what I believe will be the pioneer of #Interpol to be led by a Chinese president.” Earlier this year, as news of Meng’s likely appointment neared, American officials advised the organization to not let what they feared would be an “Chinese sweep” pick Interpol’s president.

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