American brothers and sisters barred from leaving China for 3 years

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

Victor Liu, a student at Georgetown University, and Cynthia Liu, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, traveled to China in June 2018 to visit their sick grandfather, the country. His father, Liu Changming, the former CEO of a Chinese bank, is wanted by Chinese police for his role in the fraud case.

His release on Friday coincided with a deal that paved the way for Meng Wangzhou, chief executive of Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies, to return to China. Meng has been released on bail and is living on her Vancouver estate pending an extradition request to the United States, where she is wanted in a fraud case related to the sale of Iranian telecommunications equipment. Meng arrived in China on Saturday.

Ginsberg, a former US ambassador to Morocco, linked the release of Victor and Cynthia Liu to a telephone conversation between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on September 9. “I believe the President’s conversation with President Si helped resolve the impasse,” Ginsburg said in a telephone interview.

The brother and sister case was raised with China by other American officials, and Senators Edward J. Markie and Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats from Massachusetts, Ginsburg said, also called for his release from Georgetown University.

Unlike Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who spent nearly three years in Chinese prisons in retaliation for Meng’s inability to leave Canada, Victor and Cynthia Liu were not charged with a crime and were not detained.

They live in a rented apartment in Shanghai, and Victor Liu continues his studies remotely in Georgetown, Ginsberg said. They belong to a group of Americans and other foreigners who are unable to leave China because of so-called exit restrictions.