US pass­port can’t ob­struct Chi­nese po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Global Times US Edition - - EDITORIAL - By Yu Ning

How should we up­hold hu­man rights? The New York Times once again showed us its strange logic.

A fugi­tive is on the run in the US. To in­ves­ti­gate the cor­rup­tion case, Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties have kept his fam­ily mem­bers in China. But ac­cord­ing to the New York Times, China has barred US fam­ily mem­bers from leav­ing the coun­try so as to force a bank ex­ec­u­tive to re­turn and face charges.

Liu Chang­ming, a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive at a State-owned bank ac­cused of be­ing part of a $1.4 bil­lion fraud case, fled China in 2007. He trans­ferred his wife and daugh­ter to Cal­i­for­nia as early as 1998. Liu’s fam­i­lies have lived with notable wealth in the US over the past years. Both his chil­dren, the daugh­ter and a US-born son, at­tended Gro­ton, an ex­pen­sive Mas­sachusetts board­ing school. The fam­ily has a $2.3 mil­lion house in the Bos­ton sub­urbs, and Liu’s wife con­trols real es­tate hold­ings worth at least $10 mil­lion in­clud­ing two Man­hat­tan lux­ury apartments.

Liu is still at large. His wife has been de­tained and chil­dren re­stricted from leav­ing China since they re- turned to the coun­try in June. Be­sides Western me­dia, some US politi­cians also showed “deep con­cern” over the sit­u­a­tion of Liu’s fam­i­lies.

As one of China’s most-wanted fugi­tives, Liu’s case is typ­i­cal: He trans­ferred his fam­i­lies and ill-got­ten as­sets over­seas first and then fled the coun­try. In most such cases, fam­ily mem­bers, es­pe­cially wives, are ac­com­plices. It’s rea­son­able that peo­ple doubt the source of the enor­mous wealth of Liu’s fam­ily in the US. Although they claimed they have cut ties with Liu since 2012 and the mother ac­quired her own wealth from a col­lec­tion of suc­cess­ful prop­erty busi­nesses, that’s hardly con­vinc­ing.

The three fam­ily mem­bers of Liu all have le­gal and valid iden­tity doc­u­ments as Chi­nese cit­i­zens and are sus­pected of hav­ing com­mit­ted eco­nomic crimes, Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang told re­porters at a reg­u­lar press brief­ing Mon­day. Though they are US cit­i­zens, they still have the obli­ga­tion to co­op­er­ate with Chi­nese po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions on this spe­cific case in­volv­ing Liu. US pass­ports can­not im­mu­nize them from abid­ing by le­gal pro­ce­dures in China, let alone they are dual cit­i­zen­ship hold­ers with­out re­nounc­ing their Chi­nese cit­i­zen­ship.

The US has long been re­garded as a haven for fugi­tives. A large num­ber of cor­rupt of­fi­cials from de­vel­op­ing coun­tries have fled to the US with enor­mous wealth, thus mak­ing the coun­try a spe­cial ben­e­fi­ciary of global cor­rup­tion in a cer­tain sense. Quite a few cor­rupt Chi­nese of­fi­cials are hid­ing out in the US. The two coun­tries in re­cent years have held talks over repa­tri­a­tion of fugi­tives. De­spite the repa­tri­a­tion of Yang Xi­uzhu, a for­mer vice mayor ac­cused of steal­ing $39 mil­lion, in 2016, lit­tle progress has been made.

The Western me­dia al­ways crit­i­cize China for lack of rule of law. But when China tries to hunt down cor­rupt of­fi­cials and im­prove gov­er­nance, these same me­dia go to a great length to shel­ter them us­ing the ex­cuse of China’s hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion. Their logic of hu­man rights can hardly con­vince any­body.

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