Their release coincided with an agreement on Friday that cleared the way for a senior executive of Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecommunications giant, to return to China.
Published: 2021-09-27 09:41 pm
American Siblings Barred From Leaving China for 3 Years Return to U.S.
www.nytimes.com

Their release coincided with an agreement on Friday that cleared the way for a senior executive of Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecommunications giant, to return to China.

(image)
Victor and Cynthia Liu in 2017 in an image provided by family friends.

Victor and Cynthia Liu, American siblings who had been barred from leaving China for more than three years, returned to the United States on Saturday, said their lawyer, Marc Ginsberg.

Victor Liu, a student at Georgetown University, and Cynthia Liu, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, went to China in June 2018 to visit their ailing grandfather. On the trip, their mother, also an American citizen, was detained by police and the siblings were barred from leaving the country. Their father, Liu Changming, a former executive at a Chinese bank, was wanted by the Chinese police for his role in a fraud case.

Their release coincided with an agreement on Friday that cleared the way for Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive at the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies, to return to China. Ms. Meng had been on bail, living in her Vancouver mansion while an extradition request was being adjudicated with the United States, where she was wanted as part of a fraud case involving the sale of telecommunications gear to Iran. Ms. Meng arrived in China on Saturday.

Mr. Ginsberg, a former United States ambassador to Morocco, credited the release of Victor and Cynthia Liu in part to a Sept. 9 phone call between President Biden and President Xi Jinping of China. “I’m sure the president’s call with President Xi helped to break a logjam,” Mr. Ginsberg said in a telephone interview.

The siblings’ case had been brought up with China by other U.S. officials, and Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats of Massachusetts, had also pushed for their release, as had Georgetown University, Mr. Ginsberg said.

Unlike the Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were held for nearly three years in a Chinese prison in apparent retaliation for Ms. Meng being unable to leave Canada, Victor and Cynthia Liu were not accused of crimes and were not in custody. They lived in a rented apartment in Shanghai, and Victor Liu continued his studies at Georgetown remotely, Mr. Ginsberg said. They were among a group of Americans and other foreign nationals unable to leave China because of so-called exit bans.

Their mother, Sandra Han, remains in jail, Mr. Ginsberg said.

Victor and Cynthia Liu are staying in the New York area. They grew up in Massachusetts.

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