China is reportedly holding Chinese Americans hostage, preventing them from leaving the country, as a means to put pressure on overseas family members to return to China, according to a recent report.
Law enforcement agencies under the ruling Chinese Communist Party have prevented several U.S. passport-holders from leaving China in recent years, including a pregnant woman, the U.S.-based Daily Beast reported this week.
At least two dozen cases of exit bans, often in connection with a police investigation, have been reported during the past two years, with the authorities often using the U.S. citizen as leverage to persuade a relative to return to China, it said.
Some of the cases are linked to the pursuit of Chinese citizens thought to have fled overseas after committing economic crimes, under President Xi Jinping’s “Operation Fox Hunt” program, which tries to pursue them as part of an anti-corruption drive.
Shanghai-based rights activist Feng Zhenghu said such practices are “inhumane,” while also noting that Chinese nationals are subjected to exit bans.
“Some people are not allowed to leave the country,” Feng said. “I have also been under such restrictions since 2015.”
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Reported by Wong Lok-to for RFA’s Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
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