Xiao Jianhua: Chinese language-Canadian tycoon faces trial in China with out consular entry, embassy says

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Billionaire financier Xiao Jianhua, identified for his shut connections to a few of China’s strongest political households, vanished in 2017 after he was seized by Chinese language safety brokers from his room on the 4 Seasons lodge in Hong Kong and brought to mainland China.

The Canadian Embassy mentioned consular officers are monitoring Xiao’s case intently and offering consular providers to his household, although it didn’t verify the trial date.

“Canada made a number of requests to attend the trial proceedings of Canadian citizen, Mr. Xiao Jianhua. Our attendance was denied by Chinese language authorities,” the embassy mentioned.

Citing the embassy, Reuters beforehand reported Xiao’s trial was attributable to start on Monday.

Xiao’s extrajudicial abduction got here amid a broader crackdown on corruption launched by Chinese language chief Xi Jinping, which has snared a slew of senior officers and executives at huge Chinese language corporations.

Since then, Xiao has not been seen in public. Chinese language authorities haven’t disclosed the costs in opposition to him or another particulars of his case.

Xiao was certainly one of China’s richest males and managed the Tomorrow Group, a large holding firm with stakes in banks, insurers and property builders.

In response to Hurun, which analyzes Chinese language wealth, Xiao had a internet value of $6 billion and ranked thirty second on its 2016 wealthy listing, a league desk equal to the Forbes listing.

In February 2017, an individual conversant in the kidnapping advised CNN there was a small scuffle on the Hong Kong 4 Seasons lodge between two dozen Chinese language safety officers and Xiao’s personal safety element, which generally numbered about eight bodyguards per shift. The supply requested to stay nameless due to the politically delicate nature of the case. Xiao has not been seen in public for the reason that incident.

Chinese language Overseas Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian mentioned he was unaware of the state of affairs when requested about Xiao’s trial at a information convention on Monday.

Who’s Xiao Jinhua?

A Canadian citizen born in China, Xiao was certainly one of quite a few Chinese language tycoons who had moved to Hong Kong and brought up residence in non-public residences on the 5-star 4 Seasons lodge throughout Xi’s crackdown on company extra.

Xiao’s disappearance despatched shockwaves via Hong Kong’s elite enterprise neighborhood, the place it was broadly interpreted as a sign the town was not past the attain of the mainland’s safety equipment.

It additionally stoked wider fears in regards to the erosion of the town’s freedoms, as assured beneath the “one nation, two techniques” coverage agreed to as a part of Britain’s 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China.

Xiao’s case has drawn comparisons with Lee Bo, a bookseller and British passport holder who disappeared from Hong Kong in 2015 and later turned up in Chinese language custody. 5 booksellers went lacking that yr, all of whom have been concerned with writer Mighty Present and its store Causeway Bay Books, which bought gossipy titles about China’s elite.
These disappearances occurred earlier than Hong Kong’s anti-government protests in 2019, which have been initially triggered by a controversial extradition invoice that proposed permitting Hong Kong to switch fugitives within the metropolis to mainland Chinese language courts.
The federal government finally suspended the invoice to quell mass protests earlier than Beijing imposed a sweeping nationwide safety regulation over the town in 2020. The regulation, which extends Beijing’s direct management over the town, grants mainland officers the ability to “train jurisdiction” over instances that “jeopardize nationwide safety.”

The regulation criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with international powers, and carries with it a most sentence of life in jail.

Critics say the regulation has been used to silence all dissent in opposition to the Hong Kong authorities, which has repeatedly defended the laws, saying it returned the town to stability.

CNN’s Steven Jiang and Katie Hunt contributed to this story.

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