Chinese-Canadian billionaire reportedly adducted from Hong Kong to mainland China by Chinese authorities

Qianshu Wang - 2B Nanotechnology
Posted on: February 18, 2017

Xiao Jianhua, a 46-year old Chinese-Canadian citizen and one of the richest billionaires in China with ties to top Beijing leaders, was reportedly abducted from the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong where he had been staying near the end of January  by Chinese public security agents and brought back to the mainland for as of yet inconclusive reasons. Xiao was last seen in the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel on CCTV footage before being escorted away by mainland security agents to an undisclosed location. In essence, Xiao got batmanned hard, and this case does indeed bear many interesting similarities to that particular scene from “The Dark Knight.”

News sites as well as independent investigations performed by Hong Kong police have both confirmed that Xiao has crossed into the mainland with security agents but other details are sparse and there is a great deal of mystery surrounding the case. The mystery deepened after Hong Kong police, who were investigating this incident as a missing persons case requested by his family, soon received a request to drop the case from Xiao’s wife who had been told to by Xiao. His wife also fled to Japan after submitting the request for the withdrawal of Hong Kong police assistance. Hong Kong police are continuing to investigate.

In addition, a front page ad in Hong Kong’s Mingpao newspaper soon appeared afterwards in which Xiao appeared to deny that he had been kidnapped. Xiao stated that he was “recuperating overseas” and that everything was fine and that he hoped to meet with media soon. The troubling fact is that this statement appears to contradict earlier reports that he had been on the mainland. His statement also emphasized his loyalty to the Communist Party of China and to the nation as well as the fact that he is a Hong Kong permanent resident and Canadian citizen and as such enjoys the legal protections of both. Mingpao was also unable to disclose who had purchased the advert which typically costs around $36,500. The newspaper statement was also similar to statements posted on and later removed from WeChat, a Chinese social network and messaging app, by the Tomorrow Group, a massive holding company controlled by Xiao with stakes in banks, insurers, and property development. Chinese state-associated media report that Xiao is assisting the government with an ongoing anti-corruption probe.

Looking beyond the individual case of Xiao Jianhua, this recent incident bears a number of similarities to an incident in Janurary of 2016, when five booksellers known for selling salacious titles regarding high-level Chinese politicains disappeared from Thailand, southern mainland China, and in one case, Hong Kong. Similar fears had also been raised at that time regarding the possibility of them being abducted by Chinese authorities as they all later resurfaced in mainland China. Lee Bo, the bookseller who had gone missing in Hong Kong, was a British citizen and the British government believed him to have been “involuntarily removed to the mainland.” All men later turned up unharmed and Lee Bo denied that he had been abducted and had instead voluntarily left to assist with an investigation on another bookseller.

The recent incident with Mr. Xiao and the bookseller case raises questions regarding the autonomy of Hong Kong in the future and their relationship with Beijing. Hong Kong, as a former British colony, enjoys a special relationship with Beijing under the “one country, two systems” policy and as such mainland legal agents have no jurisdiction in Hong Kong. The recent cases have caused many to worry that Beijing is exerting its power and challenging the city’s autonomy.