PARIS (AP) — In her first comments about her husband's jail sentence, the wife of the former Interpol president imprisoned in China has dismissed his bribery conviction as “a lie, a fake case” and said he is being punished for having used his senior position within the ruling Communist Party to push for reform from within.
Speaking in an exclusive interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, Grace Meng said her husband, Meng Hongwei, had been part of a reformist faction within the secretive ruling party. She said he and others argued, out of the public eye and at the highest circles of power in China, for a “modern” constitutional and election-based political system, as a response to worsening corruption.
“About four or five years ago, at the center of the upper echelons of the CCP (Communist Party), everyone discussed the problem: Everyone knew corruption was rampant, touching all officials, every department,” Grace Meng said. “Everyone was worried about the situation."
“So what should be done? There were two opposing points of view,” she said. “One was that power needed to be concentrated even further, which is the method adopted now.”
“The other view was that the system should be fundamentally changed,” she added.
She said her husband and others were part of a faction that pushed that view and that he is now being persecuted for it. Meng Hongwei was a senior official in the regime who held high-ranking positions, including as a long-serving vice minister of public security.
Grace Meng offered no written or other documentary proof of what she said were her husband's reformist views. She has previously said the case against him is politically motivated. But she had never before discussed the political background in such detail.
China said this week that Meng was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison on charges of accepting more than $2 million in bribes.
A statement Tuesday from the No. 1 Intermediary Court in the northern city of Tianjin said Meng accepted the verdict and would not appeal. In addition to his prison sentence, he was fined 2 million yuan ($290.000) .
It said Meng, 66, admitted he abused his position to accept 14.4 million yuan ($2.1 million) in bribes while serving in various offices, including as a vice minister of public security and maritime police chief, often in exchange for favors and using his influence with other officials.
His wife described the charges as trumped-up and said that nothing attributed to him by China's entirely state-run media should be believed.
“It’s all lies,” she said. “He has no right to speak."
“It is a political issue," she said.