World

Xiao Jianhua: Chinese-Canadian tycoon faces trial in China without consular access, says embassy

Billionaire financier Xiao Jianhua, known for his close ties to some of China’s most powerful political families, disappeared in 2017 after being seized by Chinese security agents from his room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong and taken to mainland China.

The Canadian embassy said consular officials are closely monitoring Xiao’s case and providing consular services to his family, although it did not confirm the trial date.

“Canada made several requests to participate in the trial against the Canadian citizen, Mr. Xiao Jianhua. Our participation was denied by Chinese authorities,” the embassy said.

Referring to the embassy, ​​Reuters previously reported that Xiao’s trial was due to begin on Monday.

Xiao’s extrajudicial abduction came amid a broader repression of corruption launched by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who has captured a number of senior officials and executives of large Chinese companies.

Since then, Xiao has not been seen in public. The Chinese authorities have not revealed the charges against him or other details in his case.

Xiao was one of China’s richest men and controlled Tomorrow Group, a massive holding company with stakes in banks, insurance companies and real estate developers.

According to Hurun, which analyzes Chinese wealth, Xiao had a net worth of $ 6 billion and ranked 32nd on its 2016-rich list, a league table similar to the Forbes list.

In February 2017, a person familiar with the situation told CNN that there was a small fight between two dozen security officials and Xiao’s own security details, which usually number around eight bodyguards per. shift. The source asked to remain anonymous due to the politically sensitive nature of the case.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said he was unaware of the situation when asked about Xiao’s trial at a news conference on Monday.

Who is Xiao Jinhua?

A Canadian citizen born in China, Xiao was one of a number of Chinese tycoons who had moved to Hong Kong and taken up residence in private apartments at the 5-star Four Seasons hotel during Xi’s crackdown on corporate profits.

Xiao’s disappearance sent shock waves through Hong Kong’s elite business community, where it was widely interpreted as a signal that the city was no longer out of reach of the mainland’s security apparatus.

It also created wider fears of the erosion of the city’s freedoms, as guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” policy adopted as part of Britain’s 1997 transfer of Hong Kong to China.

Xiao’s case has drawn comparisons with Lee Bo, a Bookseller and British passport holder who disappeared from Hong Kong in 2015 and later appeared in Chinese custody. Five booksellers went missing the year that everyone was involved in the publisher Mighty Current and its store Causeway Bay Books, which sold gossipy titles about China’s elite.
These disappearances took place even before Hong Kong’s anti-government protests in 2019, which were initially triggered by a controversial extradition law who proposed allowing Hong Kong to transfer refugees in the city to mainland Chinese courts.
The government eventually suspended the bill to quell mass protests before Beijing introduced one comprehensive national security legislation over the city by 2020. The law, which extends Beijing’s direct control over the city, gives mainland officials the power to “exercise jurisdiction” over cases that “endanger national security.”

The law criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism and cooperation with foreign powers and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Critics say the law has been used to silence all disagreements against the Hong Kong government, which has repeatedly defended the law, saying it has brought the city back to stability.

CNN’s Steven Jiang and Katie Hunt contributed to this story.

Xiao Jianhua: Chinese-Canadian tycoon faces trial in China without consular access, says embassy

Source link Xiao Jianhua: Chinese-Canadian tycoon faces trial in China without consular access, says embassy

Back to top button