Canadian Government: China Tycoon Must Be Tried | Economic news

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese-Canadian tycoon is on trial in China, the Canadian government said Monday, five years after he disappeared from Hong Kong during an anti-corruption crackdown.

Xiao Jianhua was due to stand trial on Monday, according to a government statement. He said Canadian diplomats were “following this matter closely” and providing unspecified services to Xiao’s family. He said no further information would be released for confidentiality reasons.

Xiao, the founder of Tomorrow Group, disappeared from a Hong Kong hotel in January 2017 amid an upsurge in lawsuits against Chinese businessmen accused of corruption and other misconduct. Authorities have never confirmed whether Xiao was being detained or disclosed any charges.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said Monday he was not aware of the situation.

Xiao’s disappearance came as the ruling Communist Party stepped up efforts to pressure those wanted in corruption cases to return from overseas to face trial. This has fueled fears that Beijing could abduct people overseas. At that time, Chinese police were prohibited from operating in Hong Kong, which has a separate legal system.

Since then, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government has tightened control over Hong Kong, sparking complaints that it is violating the autonomy promised when the territory was returned to China in 1997. The ruling party has imposed a law on the national security in 2020 and imprisoned pro-democracy activists. .

In 2015, five people linked to a Hong Kong publishing house that sold books critical of Chinese leaders disappeared from the territory and reappeared on the mainland.

Prior to his disappearance, Xiao had an estimated fortune of $6 billion, according to the Hurun Report, which tracks wealthy Chinese.

An official with China’s securities regulator said in February 2017 that overseas Chinese accused of misconduct would be “caught and fired”.

Hong Kong police investigated Xiao’s disappearance and said the subject had crossed the border into the mainland. But an advertisement in the Ming Pao newspaper in Xiao’s name the same week denied that he had been abducted against his will.

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