LYON, FRANCE – The wife of the former Chinese head of Interpol, who has had no news of him for nearly six months since his arrest in China, has asked French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the matter with counterpart Xi Jinping during an official visit to France.
In a letter to the Elysee Palace dated March 21, a copy of which has been seen by AFP, Grace Meng “asks to know where (her husband) is and how he is.”
She has remained in the French city of Lyon, where Interpol is based, since her husband, Meng Hongwei, disappeared last September during a visit to China. He resigned from the international police agency by letter on Oct. 7 and it was later revealed he had been arrested.
He is believed to be facing corruption charges.
“I demand Mr. Meng be allowed to receive visits from his lawyers and that they be allowed to assist him,” his wife added in her letter to Macron.
“For my family, as for others going through similar tests, I urge France, which is respected and listened to the world over for its values and attachment to human rights, to bear this message to the meeting with President Xi Jinping.”
Xi arrived in Nice earlier Sunday ahead of his state visit to Paris on Monday.
Meng Hongwei, a former vice minister for public security in China who rose through the ranks of the country’s feared security apparatus, was the first Chinese head of Interpol.
He was last heard from on Sept. 25 as he left Lyon for China, when he sent his wife a social media message telling her to “wait for my call,” and then a knife emoji signifying danger.
Grace Meng later reported he was missing, and after several days without news Interpol said it had received a short message from Meng saying he was resigning.
South Korean Kim Jong-yang took over from Meng at Interpol in November for a two-year term.
Meng’s wife says he is the victim of a “forced disappearance,” adding she and her family have received no information or legal advice as to his fate.
In January she said she had been threatened and would apply for political asylum in France, telling French media her Chinese phone and internet accounts had been blocked.
Chinese authorities can hold suspects in secret for six months without either informing their family or allowing access to a lawyer.