Would be abuse of French legal system if ex-Interpol chief's wife wanted political asylum in France: China

Meng Hongwei. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Beijing, China May 15, 2019, 03.02 PM (IST)

China on Wednesday said France granting asylum to the wife of former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei - who has been charged in China with accepting bribes - would be an abuse of its own legal procedures.

"There is no so-called political persecution," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, days after Grace Meng's lawyer in France said she had been granted asylum.

"If Meng Hongwei's wife wanted to apply for political asylum in France, it would be an abuse of French legal procedures." 

Grace Meng, who was given police protection after she alleged an abduction attempt at the start of the year, was granted asylum on May 2 along with the couple's two children, their lawyer Emmanuel Marsigny said.

Good mutual trust is the foundation of developing a stable and healthy relationship between China and France," China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang added.

Meng Hongwei disappeared last September after leaving the French city of Lyon, where Interpol is based, for China. He later sent his wife a social media message telling her to "wait for my call," and then a knife emoji signifying danger.

A few weeks later Interpol was informed that Meng, the first Chinese president at the international police agency, had resigned, with China later saying he was being held on suspicion of taking bribes.

He was officially charged this month with accepting bribes that allowed him to illegally obtain several properties while Marine Police chief and vice minister in China.