American siblings return home after China lifts exit ban

A pair of American siblings have returned home after China lifted an exit ban following Canada’s release of a top Chinese tech executive who had been wanted in the U.S. on fraud charges.
The State Department said Cynthia and Victor Liu returned to the U.S. on Sunday after consular staff in Shanghai helped facilitate their departure.
“We welcome Cynthia and Victor Liu’s return to the United States on Sunday,” said the department in an undated statement.
A pair of Canadians held in China were also permitted to leave after Canada released Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on Friday.
According to reports, the Liu siblings had traveled to China along with their mother, Han Tong, in mid-2018 to visit an ailing relative, but were then barred from leaving the country in an apparent bid to pressure their father Liu Changming, to return to China, where he is wanted on charges of money laundering. Han was detained after arriving in China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying defended the exit bans as legal and necessary to the investigation into their parents’ cases.
“Chinese police, in order to find out the truth, restricted their exit from China,” Hua said at a daily briefing yesterday.
“In light of the progress of the investigation, police lifted the restrictions in September 2021 according to law,” Hua said. “The handling of the cases is lawful and an independent judicial procedure.”
No information was immediately available about any progress in the investigation or the whereabouts of Han Tong and Liu Changming.
The U.S. State Department’s statement said Washington opposes the use of “coercive exit bans against people who are not themselves charged with crimes” and would continue to “advocate on behalf of all American citizens in (China) subject to arbitrary detention and coercive exit bans.”
As justification for the exit ban, Hua cited Chinese administration laws which state foreigners can be prevented from leaving if they are “sentenced to criminal punishments, the execution of which are not completed, or suspects or defendants in criminal cases, except those who are sentenced and transferred under relevant agreements between China and foreign countries.” MDT/AP

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