China and Inner Asia
Since rising to power in 2012, Chinese premier Xi Jinping has aggressively pursued individuals who are wanted by the Chinese Party-state. Many of those who have fled overseas are allegedly corrupt former officials, but others – including activists, intellectuals, and relatives of senior Party members – have not been credibly accused of any crime.
A protracted anti-corruption drive has helped to fuel expanded international law-enforcement cooperation, with the state media reporting in June 2019 that nearly six thousand fugitives and over US$2 billion in stolen assets had been recovered over the past five years. But this enhanced cooperation has raised concerns that countries returning suspects to China might violate domestic and international human rights laws regarding fair trials and torture.
This panel will describe China’s efforts to pursue both Chinese nationals and foreign citizens living abroad. The Party-state’s actions carry significant implications for domestic legal reform, China’s engagement with international law and organizations, and Chinese foreign policy. China’s extradition push has also generated significant friction in its relationships with both Taiwan and Hong Kong. In 2019, for example, the Hong Kong government’s proposed extradition bill raised serious concerns over Hong Kong’s autonomy.
This roundtable panel will embrace an innovative format: presentations will be kept very short (5-8 minutes) to encourage discussion. Jerome Cohen will moderate, and also comment on his experience advocating for criminal justice reform in China. Margaret Lewis will discuss the ways in which China’s efforts to increase cooperation on extradition raises serious human rights concerns, including related to the prohibition of torture and the right to a fair trial. Yu-Jie Chen will discuss the PRC's relationship with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and PRC-INTERPOL cooperation in pursuing Chinese suspects. Thomas E. Kellogg will discuss the 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill crisis, and its implications for the rule of law in the Special Administrative Region. Eva Pils will use a recent precedent-setting case before the Swedish Supreme Court as a springboard to discuss China's wider efforts to achieve repatriation of people it wants to investigate through various means, both legal and extra-legal.