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China allowed an American siblings barred from leaving the country for 3 years to return to the US

Posted by on 2021/09/29. Filed under Breaking News,Headline News,International. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

China has allowed an American brother and sister barred from leaving the country for more than three years to return to the United States, their lawyer said Monday, after the Justice Department reached a deal that clears the way for a Huawei chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, to return to China.

The release of Victor Liu, a Georgetown University student, and Cynthia Liu, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, is one of a series of moves to ease tensions between the United States and China following the Huawei deal. The two men have never been accused of wrongdoing, but are subject to an “exit ban” on leaving China.

Their release over the weekend coincided with an agreement reached on Friday to free Meng Wanzhou, a Huawei executive who had spent nearly three years living on bond in two vancouver mansions while the United States sought her extradition in a fraud case related to the sale of telecommunications equipment to Iran.

Ms. Meng arrived in China on Saturday.

Within hours, China released two Canadians who appeared to be being held hostage in Ms. Meng’s case after being seized shortly after her detention. The exchange worried national security experts because China created the impression that it was using the hostages to gain the upper hand in diplomatic and national security matters.

The release of the Two Americans on Saturday, a day after the deal on Ms. Meng was announced, is likely to reinforce that impression.
The Justice Department said in a statement on Monday that it had not reached an agreement with Ms. Meng over the detention of Canadian and American citizens. “The decision to enter into the deferred prosecution agreement with Ms. Meng was made independently by the Justice Department, based on the facts and the law, as well as an assessment of litigation risk,” Anthony Coley, a Justice Department spokesman, said in a statement.

On Monday, the White House rejected the idea that China was using the hostages to gain negotiating advantage. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the agreement with Ms. Meng was a move by an “independent department of Justice,” and that her legal situation had not been resolved for the release of a prisoner.

“I think it needs to be emphasized and it needs to be very clear that there is no connection between these two things,” Ms. Sackey said of the Release of the Canadians and the reconciliation with Ms. Meng. She said the White House has publicly expressed its desire to free the Canadians.

The siblings traveled to China in June 2018 to visit their ailing grandfather. While in China, their mother, also an American citizen, was detained by the police, and the siblings were barred from leaving the country. Their father, Liu Changming, is a former head of a Chinese bank who is wanted by Chinese police for his role in fraud. The travel ban and the imprisonment of their mother were seen as a way to force their father to return to China and turn himself in.

American officials have repeatedly told Their Chinese counterparts that the travel ban on American citizens is a big problem.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken pressed senior Chinese officials on the travel ban in talks in Anchorage in March, and raised the case of Americans trapped in the travel ban in a phone call with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in June.

During a visit to China in July for talks, Wendy R. Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, “raised cases of American and Canadian citizens” detained in China or subject to travel bans, and told Chinese officials that “people are not bargaining chips,” the State Department said at the time.

Sherman met with China’s new ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, in Washington last month and “reviewed” issues she had addressed earlier in China, the State Department said.

The siblings’ lawyer, Marc Ginsberg, attributed their release to a Sept. 9 phone call between President Biden and President Xi Jinping of China. “I believe the president’s phone call with President Xi helped break the deadlock,” said Ginsburg, a former United States ambassador to Morocco who has represented Victor and Cynthia Liu pro bono.

In a telephone interview, he said the siblings would not comment to the media.
The Chinese government also denied on Monday that there had been a swap between Ms. Meng and the Two Canadians, and made no mention of any lifting of the travel ban.

The Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were allowed to return to Canada after being released on medical bail, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a regular news briefing in Beijing. She said Ms. Meng was the real victim, and they were not.

“The nature of the Meng wanzhou case is completely different from that of Michael Kovner and Michael Kovner,” she said. “As for the timing, I want to say that the unreasonable detention of Meng Wanzhou was a serious mistake made by the US and Canada, and it is high time that the US and Canada corrected their mistake.”

Ms. Ginsburg said that the siblings’ case had been raised with the Chinese by other American officials, and that Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, Both Massachusetts Democrats, and Georgetown University had sought their release.

Mr. Markey said in April that Victor and Cynthia Liu “have had their lives put on hold and have had to stay in a country that is routinely monitored, harassed and threatened by Chinese authorities.”

Unlike the Canadians who have been held in Chinese prisons for nearly three years, apparently in retaliation for Ms. Meng’s inability to leave the country, Victor and Cynthia Liu have not been charged with a crime or detained. They were living in a rental apartment in Shanghai, Ms. Ginsberg said, and Mr. Liu was continuing his distance learning in Georgetown.
Their mother, Sandra Han, remains in prison, Ms. Ginsburg said.

Victor and Cynthia Liu arrived in the United States on Saturday and are currently stopping in the New York area. They grew up in Massachusetts.
“We approach this moment with great anticipation,” Georgetown’s president, John J. DeGioia, said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming Victor back to school.”

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