October 6, 2018

This isn't our normal fare, but it is just weird. Meng Hongwei is the president of Interpol, and he is missing.

According to the New York Times, Hongwei took a trip to China and disappeared.

“If Meng Hongwei has disappeared in China, then of course the most likely reason is an anticorruption investigation,” Deng Yuwen, a former editor of a Communist Party journal who now writes commentaries on Chinese politics, said in a telephone interview.

“Internationally, he is president of Interpol, but in the eyes of the Chinese authorities he is first of all Chinese, and they wouldn’t think too much about his international prominence,” Mr. Deng added. “This is the new normal.”

The Chinese authorities had already sent an emphatic message earlier this week that international prominence was no shield for Chinese citizens. Two days before it became known that Mr. Meng had apparently disappeared, Chinese state media reported that Fan Bingbing, a Chinese actress who had disappeared for four months, had been cooperating with the tax authorities, who fined her nearly $70 million in unpaid taxes and penalties. Ms. Fan had appeared in the “Iron Man” franchise and other big Hollywood spectacles.

Mysterious deaths and disappearances seem to be a hallmark of authoritarian regimes. But you'd think the head of Interpol might warrant an explanation, at the very least.

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