ART BY ESTELLE ZHOU
Its infamous government is unbeatable, and its blatant hypocrisy unmatched. Unsurprisingly, it has done it again.
As if the country’s notoriety concerning corruption is not already damaging enough, China’s government has added yet another incident to its long list of deception — one that President Xi Jinping ironically vowed to shorten.
A few years ago, at the start of China’s President Xi Jinping’s campaign, he vowed to lessen corruption in the country. However, the Chinese government’s latest tactic to catch a fugitive has proven that the Chinese government is still as corrupt as ever.
In June 2018, siblings Victor and Cynthia Liu and their mother were on vacation in China, visiting their sick grandfather. Just days after their arrival, police officers detained their mother to a secret site known as a black jail, where people are kept captive and are often beaten and deprived of food and water. To make matters worse, the Liu siblings faced a devastating order as they checked into the airport on their way home: they were not allowed to leave China.
The Chinese government is currently holding them hostage.
The siblings’ father, Liu Changming, is accused of playing a central role in a $1.4 billion fraud case, and is one of China’s most-wanted fugitives. The police explained that they were holding the family captive in hopes of forcing the siblings’ father to return to China to face criminal charges.
However, China’s actions are not justified because the family members are American citizens, and the father’s actions should not elicit consequences for the entire family. One person’s suspicious actions most certainly should not burden anyone else, especially if others have no involvement in the incident, as with the Liu family.
The Liu family entered China using American passports, proving their American citizenship. Even with this clear evidence of their rightful home country, the Chinese government still found the need to bring up a pressing question: Was China allowed to enforce an exit ban on the family?
The answer, according to the apathetic Chinese government? Apparently, yes.
The Liu siblings have continuously pleaded their case to numerous American officials, who have been unsuccessful in freeing the Liu family from China. These horrifically unjustified travel bans could last anywhere from a couple days to several grueling years.
Though not involved in their father’s fraud case, the Liu siblings cannot leave China to continue their East Coast lives. While the Liu siblings are free to move around in China, the government has limited their means of communication due to suspicion of surveillance. Determined to regain their innocent lives, they tried leaving China three times, but all were unsuccessful.
Despite the security measures that the Chinese government claims to be taking by holding the Lius hostage, there is simply no justification for holding innocent people captive. Just because they are family members of a wanted fugitive does not mean they should suffer the consequences. With this highly controversial situation, China has stuck itself in an ethical dilemma: should they compromise their moral values in hopes of protecting their people or keep up their moral values but threaten their citizens?
In recent years, Chinese authorities have tried to reduce the amount of corruption by often viewing the family members of corrupt officials as being tied to the acts, and the police often aim to prosecute spouses.
In hopes to get rid of the corruption and bring back the fugitive father, the Chinese government is, in turn, practicing corruption by holding innocent people captive. And so goes the vicious cycle of practicing corruption to reduce corruption — it all becomes counterintuitive. Even if the Chinese government wants to fight corruption, they must fight it in a morally justified manner. This means doing all in their power to find Liu Changming without harming other innocent bystanders. That is, the Chinese government should not be holding the Liu family hostage in China and they should be allowed to return to their normal lives in the East Coast.
By holding innocent American citizens captive, China is not showing themselves in the best way, because it is showcasing itself as a corrupt country with no morals. With the Liu siblings asking American authorities for help, the American public has become aware of the unjust situation.
Less than a century ago, a situation ethically similar to that of China’s dilemma today occurred on a worldwide platform. Japanese Americans were put into internment camps during World War II because the government was suspicious that Japan had spies in America. As such, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the use of relocation camps, which was known as Executive Order 9066. Executive Order 9066 impacted the lives of approximately 117,000 people, most of whom were loyal American citizens. The US government’s use of unsolicited racism and fear tragically and unconstitutionally impacted the lives of thousands of innocent families.
Luckily, in the court case Endo v. the United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the War Relocation Authority “has no authority to subject citizens who are concededly loyal to its leave procedure.” The US government realized its faults, and President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, granting monetary reparations to Japanese Americans who had been held in internment during World War II.
While the US government’s initial actions were unjust, the US government sought to repair the damage by passing a federal law. The degrading Executive Order 9066, followed by the newfound humanity in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 should have taught other countries that detainment torments and violates other humans’ lives, but it seems that China has not gotten the memo.
The American government must immediately interfere, since the Liu family seems to be in a deadlocked situation without help. As the victims’ home country, it is America’s utmost duty to serve its citizens, both on and off the soil, especially in times of ethical turmoil.