Tag Archives: hostages

Hostage-Taking In China Will Reoccur

M’LEARNED FRIENDS at China Law Blog have posted a rather salutary guide to hostage-taking in China — how to avoid it befalling you, not a how to do it guide, we should rapidly add.

Hostage-taking is far more common in China than is often realised, and in some cases, legal. China’s laws, judiciary and police make it easy to find pretexts for taking foreign nationals hostage.

It is a persistent threat for foreigners working in the country, which has added to the reasons that multinationals doing business in China have been pulling out foreign employees over the past year.

One of the prompts for the post is, self-evidently, the case of ‘the two Michaels’ — Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, the Canadians detained by Chinese authorities shortly after Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada nearly three years ago on a US extradition request. They were released soon after she was on Friday following her deferred prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice that will wipe away the fraud charges against her.

To this Bystander, the money sentence is:

China released the two Michaels literally within hours of Meng walking free, and it did so to let the world know that it did use the arrest of the two Michaels as hostage diplomacy and, even more importantly, to threaten the world that it would not hesitate to engage in hostage diplomacy again.

The full post, Meng Wenzhou, the Two Michaels and China Hostage Taking: What YOU Need to Know, is well worth the read.

The main takeaway from the two Michaels example is that diplomatic hostage taking works as a political tool, not least because authorities are not overly concerned about any international ill will China earns from such behaviour.

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Filed under Politics & Society

Doing Business In China: The Hostage Issue

Dan Harris over at China Law Blog has a horrifying tale from the rep. office in China of what we assume is a U.S. company. The company was declaring bankruptcy and sent an executive to China to inform suppliers that they wouldn’t be getting paid. The suppliers didn’t just take umbrage; they took hostages, forcibly holding the U.S.-passport holding citizens in the rep. office against their will for some days. (The situation, as of the post, remains unresolved.) From Dan’s recounting of the tale and the comments to his post, this is not a unique event, all of which puts the espionage accusations against the four Rio Tinto executives being held without charge by the authorities into a new perspective.

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Filed under Economy