Billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who disappeared in 2017, stands trial in China

Billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who disappeared in 2017, stands trial in China

Xiao Jianhua is a citizen of Canada. (file)

Beijing:

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

“The Global Affairs Canada is aware that the trial of the Canadian citizen, Mr. Xiao Jianhua, will take place on July 4, 2022,” the embassy told AFP.

“Canadian consular officers are closely monitoring the matter, providing consular services to his family and pressing for consular access,” he said.

Xiao, a Canadian national, went missing from the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong in January 2017, after local media reported that he was snatched by mainland Chinese agents.

One of China’s richest men at the time of his alleged abduction, Xiao reportedly had close ties to the upper echelons of the ruling Communist Party.

Hong Kong police said at the time that he had crossed the border and entered mainland China. His company Tomorrow Group also later said he was based in the mainland.

Chinese officials have been silent about the case, which is reportedly linked to an anti-corruption campaign by President Xi Jinping since he came to power.

Xiao’s alleged abduction took place at a time when mainland Chinese agents were not allowed to operate in Hong Kong, and it raised fears about the forced disappearance of residents in the city.

These fears were at the center of massive pro-democracy protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019, prompted by a government bill that allowed extradition to mainland China’s opaque, Communist Party-controlled judicial system Will be

Xiao’s disappearance also followed the alleged abduction in mainland custody of five men working for a bookstore that published iconic titles about China’s leaders.

Booksellers later appeared on TV in mainland China, confessing to a variety of crimes.

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

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

rags to riches

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

He was the head of the official student union at the prestigious Peking University in 1989, when the Chinese government used soldiers and tanks to quell peaceful demonstrations.

Xiao tried to quell the protests and was unsuccessful, his company later denying a report in The New York Times that he had been rewarded by the government for his role.

After university, Xiao began selling computers and in his later years built an empire with diverse interests including banking and insurance.

According to the Hurun Report, which ranks the richest people in China, Xiao was worth about $6 billion in 2017.

He had reportedly denied allegations that he fled to Hong Kong in 2014 to escape corruption crackdown in China.

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

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

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

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Indian Lekhak

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