US passport can’t obstruct Chinese police investigation
Published: Nov 28, 2018 10:53 PM

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 returned 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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