The worldwide Criminal Political Investigation (Interpol) chief Meng Hongwei allegedly went missing on Friday, October 5, after he went to China. The statement also added that the secretary general, and not the president, is responsible for the worldwide police agency's daily operations.
Meng's wife contacted police in Lyon, the French city where the worldwide police agency is based, after not hearing from him since September 25, and after receiving threats by phone and on social media, France's interior ministry said.
French police are investigating what is officially termed in France a "worrying disappearance".
A source familiar with the investigation said the working assumption was that the 64-year-old had antagonised Chinese authorities and had been detained as a result.
Officials in China have not yet made any public comments about the Interpol chief.
As per the reports from France, Meng was last spotted in France on September 29.
Mr Meng likely dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.
"He did not disappear in France", the source said.
Has Meng Hongwei angered China?
The French interior ministry said: "Exchanges with Chinese authorities continue".
"France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol's president and concerned about the threats made to his wife", the ministry said.
As president, Mr Meng leads the Executive Committee, which provides the overall guidance and direction to Interpol.
Following the appointment, critics suggested that Meng's appointment gave Beijing a chance to enlist more worldwide help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign.
Mr Meng has held various positions within China's security establishment, including as a vice minister of public security since 2004.
Interpol added that the secretary general - not the president - was in charge of the day-to-day running of the 192-member organisation. Mr Meng's term is scheduled to run until 2020.
At the time, his appointment raised fears among human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, that he would be used by the Chinese Government to pursue political dissidents who fled the country. He earlier served as the vice-minister of public security in China as well as the vice-chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission and director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China, according to the Interpol website.
Interpol can issue a red notice - an global alert - for a wanted person.