Young American Pleas for Permission to Leave China
11 May 2019
American-Born Victor Liu, 19, and his sister Cynthia Liu, 28, who is a naturalized American Citizen, have been prevented from leaving China since last June, when they arrived with their mother, also a naturalized American citizen, to visit their ailing grandfather.
Cynthia released an emotional plea this week in a video obtained by CNN, for her family to be able to return home. Liu said she and her brother have been separated from their mother by authorities and they have not seen or spoken to her "in a long time." While Liu said they can move around within China, she said she cannot work and her brother cannot go to school. Their location in China is unclear.
Authorities have prevented them from leaving through the use of an exit ban. Speaking at a press conference last November, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang said all members of the Liu family have "valid Chinese citizenship identity documents" and were subject to Chinese laws.
"They are suspected and involved in financial crimes and restricted from leaving the country according to law. I want to repeat that China is a lawful country. Chinese judicial authorities will deal with the case according to law," he told reporters.
In January, 2019, the U.S. State Department issued an advisory to American citizens in China stating... "Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using ‘exit bans,’ sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years." From June to November, the two young Americans have attempted to leave three times. There's been no mention of how many further attempts were made since November. The two claim their father severed ties with the family in 2012.
Their father Liu Changming, a former executive at the Guangzhou branch of the Bank of Communications, is accused by Beijing of issuing billions of dollars in illegal loans to property developers before fleeing the country in December 2007. Officials convicted Mr. Liu’s co-conspirators but recovered only half of the money. In 2009, China issued a worldwide Interpol red notice for his arrest and he appeared on a list of China's 100 top fugitives in 2015.
According to public records, both children attended Groton, an expensive Massachusetts boarding school, and Cynthia Liu graduated from Stanford and Harvard Business School. The family has a $2.3 million house in a Boston suburb, and the mother, a businesswoman, controls or has her name on companies with real estate holdings worth at least $10 million, including two luxury apartments in Manhattan.
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