China: Canadian diplomats banned from attending national's trial

China: Canadian diplomats barred from attending the trial of a national

Canadian diplomats are are being denied access to a court in China where Chinese-Canadian tycoon Xiao Jianhua was being tried, the Canadian Embassy in China said on Tuesday.

Canadian diplomats have been denied access to the court in China where Chinese-Canadian tycoon Xiao Jianhua is being tried, the Canadian Embassy said on Tuesday a day after the trial in the Chinese-Canadian tycoon. businessman.

The man had mysteriously disappeared in 2017 from the Hong Kong hotel where he was staying. Reputed to be close to the top Chinese communist leaders, he had according to press reports been abducted by Beijing agents.

Founder of the Tomorrow conglomerate, active in banking, real estate and insurance, Xiao Jianhua was at the time one of the richest men in China, with an estimated fortune of 6 billion. dollars.

Since his disappearance, little information had leaked out about the tycoon, considered a Canadian citizen by Ottawa, until the Embassy of Canada confirms on Monday that he was going to be tried the same day.

Xiao Jianhua speaking with reporters in Hong Kong, December 2013.

Canada has made several requests to attend the trial. Our presence was refused by Chinese authorities, the embassy said in a statement on Tuesday.

Chinese authorities and media have so far remained silent on this case, which may be linked to President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign.

Asked Monday about the lawsuit, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said during a regular press briefing that he was not aware of this file.

The alleged abduction of the billionaire in 2017 is said to have taken place in defiance of Hong Kong laws which then prohibited Chinese police from operating in the semi-autonomous territory.

< p class="e-p">His disappearance had caused a stir in Hong Kong, with some residents fearing they would be forcibly taken to mainland China, where the justice system is sometimes opaque and influenced by the ruling Communist Party.

These concerns were at the heart of major protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019. They were sparked by opposition to a local government bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

The Xiao Jianhua case recalls the 2015 disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers known for publishing books with salacious content on the Chinese political class.

< p class="e-p">All had vanished to resurface in mainland China, in the hands of the authorities.

In response to the 2019 protests in Hong Kong, the government central imposed a national security law on the territory in 2020. It has since allowed agents from mainland China to operate legally in the former British colony.

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