Canadian businessman tried without consular access in China, says embassy
Beijing, July 5 (EFE).- The Canadian embassy in Beijing said Tuesday that a Chinese-Canadian businessman has been put on trial in China without consular access five years after going missing from an opulent Hong Kong hotel.
“Canada made several requests to attend the trial proceedings of (the) Canadian citizen, Xiao Jianhua. Our attendance was denied by Chinese authorities,” the embassy said in a brief statement.
The statement said embassy officials were “monitoring this case closely”, and would “continue to press for consular access”.
The trial for the 50-year-old tycoon is thought to have begun on Monday in Shanghai.
How long the trial will last is unknown.
Xiao is being tried on unspecified allegations since neither the Chinese government nor the media have spoken out about the proceedings.
American daily Wall Street Journal had, earlier this week, suggested that Xiao would be charged with stock price manipulation, bribery, and unlawfully collecting public deposits.
He may spend more than 10 years in jail if found guilty.
Xiao was taken away from the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong in 2017.
His alleged kidnapping came at a time when Chinese agents were not allowed to operate in Hong Kong.
At the time of his purported kidnapping, Chinese agents were not permitted to work in Hong Kong.
The forcible absence of city inhabitants following the kidnapping prompted numerous concerns about Beijing’s authority.
It increased citizens’ suspicions that they would be arrested by Chinese agents and tried on the mainland during the massive pro-democracy demonstrations that shook Hong Kong in 2019.
The protests were sparked by a proposed law that would have allowed the extradition of suspects to the Beijing-controlled judicial system.
On the Hurun list of China’s wealthiest men in 2016, Xiao came in at the 32nd spot. His estimated total wealth was $6 billion.
Despite his modest profile, he was widely known for his links to China’s political elite and had a variety of companies, including mining and insurance. EFE