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Wife of ex-Interpol president wary of Chinese envoys

LYON, France (AP) – The wife of the former Interpol president who is being detained in China on bribery charges says she has been contacted by Chinese diplomats, who have told her they’re holding a letter from him for her.

Grace Meng says, however, that she’ll only agree to meet Chinese officials if a lawyer and reporters are present. She says Chinese officials haven’t responded since she told them of that condition.

She says she also asked that the letter from her husband, Meng Hongwei, be given to French police, so they can give it to her. She is living under French police protection in Lyon, where Interpol is headquartered, since she reported her husband went missing while on a trip to China in late September.

“They said my husband wrote a letter to me,” she said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press in Lyon. “They said they can only give it to me alone.”

Meng said the disappearance and suspected slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, wasn’t a factor in her refusal to meet unaccompanied with Chinese officials. However, she made clear that she finds them impossible to trust.

China says Meng Hongwei, 64, is under investigation for graft and possibly other crimes.

Meng was China’s vice minister of public security while also leading Interpol, and a longtime Communist Party insider with decades of experience in China’s sprawling security apparatus. He appears to be the latest high-ranking official to fall victim to a sweeping purge under Chinese President Xi Jinping, possibly due to his ties with other purged officials. 

During the AP interview, one of the very few occasions when she has agreed to be filmed, Grace Meng wept as she recounted a dream she had about her husband the previous night.

“I’m sad, I feel hopeless but angry, too, even hate. You can imagine when your children, when your sons ask: ‘Where’s Daddy?’ How can I answer? Who wants their children to grow up they have no daddy?” she said.

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