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The trial of the Chinese-Canadian tycoon who disappeared in 2017 begins in China

#trial #ChineseCanadian #tycoon #disappeared #begins #China

Canadian-Chinese tycoon Xiao Jianhua is on trial Monday, the Ottawa Embassy in Beijing said in a statement after the businessman disappeared from a Hong Kong hotel in 2017.

“Global Affairs Canada is aware that there will be a trial in the case of Canadian citizen Xiao Jianhua on July 4, 2022,” the embassy told AFP, without specifying the location of the trial or any charges against him.

“Canadian consular officials are closely monitoring this case, providing consular services to his family and continuing to push for consular access.”

Xiao, a Canadian citizen, disappeared from the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong in January 2017. Local media reported that he was kidnapped by mainland Chinese agents.

Xiao was one of China’s wealthiest people at the time of his alleged kidnapping and reportedly had close ties to the upper echelons of the ruling Communist Party.

Hong Kong police said at the time he crossed the border into mainland China. His company, Tomorrow Group, also later said he was on the mainland.

However, Chinese authorities have remained silent on the case, which is reportedly linked to an anti-corruption campaign championed by President Xi Jinping since he took office.

Xiao’s alleged kidnapping came at a time when mainland Chinese agents were not allowed to operate in Hong Kong, sparking fears in the city that residents might be forcibly disappeared.

These fears were at the heart of massive pro-democracy protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019, sparked by a government law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China’s opaque Communist Party-controlled judicial system.

Xiao’s disappearance also followed the alleged kidnapping in mainland custody of five people who worked for a bookstore that published lewd titles about China’s leaders.

The booksellers later appeared on television in mainland China and admitted to a series of crimes.

In response to the protests, China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in 2020.

This law allowed its security agencies to operate in the city and brought down the legal firewall between the mainland and Hong Kong courts.

– rags to riches –

Rising from a poor family to become one of the richest men in China, Xiao founded the Beijing-based Tomorrow Group.

He was chairman of the official student association at the prestigious Peking University in 1989 when the Chinese government used troops and tanks to crush peaceful demonstrations.

Xiao had tried to defuse the protests, and his company later denied a New York Times report that he was rewarded by the government for his role.

After college, Xiao started selling computers and over the years that followed built an empire with diverse interests, including banking and insurance.

According to the Hurun report, which ranks China’s richest people, Xiao was worth nearly $6 billion in 2017.

He had reportedly denied allegations that he fled to Hong Kong in 2014 to escape China’s anti-corruption drive.

Xiao is said to have acted as a go-between for the Chinese leadership, including President Xi’s family.

“After five years of quiet waiting, our family still trusts the strict guidance of my brother, the Chinese government and Chinese law,” Xiao’s older brother told Xinhua The Wall Street Journal last month.

“It’s very complicated and full of drama,” he said of the case, according to the WSJ.

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#trial #ChineseCanadian #tycoon #disappeared #begins #China

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