A family of American citizens has been held captive in China since June 2018.
The family, a mother, daughter, and son have been denied exit from China, and are being used as bait to capture their father, who happens to be on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP), most-wanted list.
Cynthia and Victor Liu and their mother Sandra Han have been trapped in China for over 11 months now. They traveled to China to visit a sick relative and were then questioned by authorities about their father, sought by the Chinese police for alleged bank fraud charges.
Sandra Han has been held in a secret prison that is commonly referred to as a “black jail,” with no charges presented against her or the children. The siblings have attempted to leave China several times, but have not been allowed to leave.
Cynthia Liu is a consultant for a New York City firm, while Victor was supposed to have begun his sophomore year at Georgetown University.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo criticized the ban during a visit to China and again in Washington, D.C., in a meeting with several Chinese officials in Nov. 2018.
In January, the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for Americans to exercise caution traveling to China.
The CCP is not bound by any laws, or even its own constitution, as the constitution can and has been changed to serve the party’s needs before, and according to Forbes, some of the most recent changes were aimed at ensuring the current leader, Xi Jinping, can remain in charge for as long as he likes.
According to Lawfare, “Their case is part of an emerging—and quite troubling—pattern of official Chinese efforts to use foreign nationals as bargaining chips in disputes with other parties, including private individuals, overseas companies, or even other countries.” Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case, as many American citizens have recently been prevented from leaving China. The Daily Beast cites an expert who estimates about two dozen Americans in the last year and a half have been treated this way
Whether it is to compel another family member to return to China, or to force companies into some kind of action, the CCP is not above using hostages for its aims.
In its 2018 report, Human Rights Watch articulated the current state of the CCP’s crackdown on human rights in China.
And according to a recent update, the siblings, while not under investigation or being held illegally as their mother is, are scared and want to return to the U.S.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 9, 2019