On Sunday November 20th, Claire Hu from Henan province, fell victim to one of the most terrifying experiences a mother can go through. According to Claire, her two-and-a-half year old daughter, Isabella Sophia Blanco, was abducted by her estranged husband; an American citizen.


On November 24th, Claire appeared on a Shenzhen-based television show called "City Discovery" on CUTV to plead for the public's help in finding her daughter. It's a heart-felt video where Claire comes to tears multiple times as she recounts the long struggle she's had. According to the lawyer interviewed in that show; however, what's happening isn't illegal since the parents are not yet divorced.

Isabella Blanco abducted in Futian, Shenzhen, China by estranged American father


During an interview Claire told us she's been having custody disputes with her husband Alejandro for more than a year. In June 2016 they finally appeared before a divorce court but it didn't go well. "It's like a very bad dream. He hasn't been paying child support so his visitations were limited. I've tried to file for divorce but he refused. In China it's hard without his approval."


ShekouDaily met with Claire on November 26th, 2016. Watch the video below


According to Ann Lee, a Shanghai based Chinese licensed lawyer, who runs a blog on Divorce in China, "seldom will a judge issue a divorce judgment to the couple when either husband or wife says no to the divorce no matter how long the couple has been living apart." But she goes on to write that "There is no marriage that can not be divorced and it is all about time."


We were able to track down Alejandro to get his side of the story. "The fact of the matter is that over the last 7 months I've had less than 20 hours of contact with my daughter," Alejandro tells us in a telephone interview. "We're both still parents. We're not legally divorced. In the best interest of my daughter I decided to take her back from the mother to make sure she's raised in a safe and secure environment. I don't want to add more fuel to the fire. I just think that under my care our daughter will be in a better environment."


"I've gone to the police and my lawyer and I've gone to the media for help to find her," Claire tells ShekouDaily during our interview. "The police won't help as they say we're still married and it's something for the courts. My next court date isn't until February. Chinese media have been running our story for a couple of days now and we're getting a lot of calls of support but still no results. I'm so worried she's suffering from all of this and I just want her back." 

Claire Hu and Daughter Isabella Blanco


When asked why he didn't accept getting divorced during their last court date Alejandro told us simply that, "The court was in her hometown. The judges were very one-sided and I found it very unfair and unjust. In the end they decided we were not to get divorced."


Claire has gone to his place of employment; however, they offered little help in allowing her to contact him. One of his coworkers; however, has contacted her and told her that it's likely he's "hiding out" in Shekou. She's now asking everyone in Shekou to please help her in finding her daughter. She's pleading, if you see her, or have any information regarding their whereabouts, to please contact her at 186-8211-2225 or email Claire.s1026@gmail.com

Isabella Blanco


According to ChinaLawBlog, China “is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between China and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction.”  This means American citizens in China come under the jurisdiction of China’s local courts and “American citizens planning a trip to China with dual national children should bear this in mind.”


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