Interpol has withdrawn an arrest warrant against a former leading official in China, who is now a Toronto resident, due to concern that the order from Beijing was politically motivated.
The Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files, the organization’s independent review body, ruled Xie Weidong, 62, a former Supreme People’s Court Justice in China, is no longer subject to an Interpol red notice requested by China in 2014. The notice acts as an international arrest warrant.
Chinese authorities accuse Mr. Xie of corruption and have sought to force his return to the country. Mr. Xie had been disputing the notice since 2017.
“The commission finds that there is a predominant political dimension to this case,” and this violates Interpol’s constitution, reads the ruling, which was released earlier this month.
Mr. Xie has also been fighting for permanent-resident status in Canada. He said Canadian authorities said his application was inadmissible because of the red notice.
The commission’s decision means it is “likely his immigrant visa will be granted," Mr. Xie’s lawyer Stuart Friedman said in an interview. “He’s married to a Canadian woman.”
“I think it will put that issue to bed,” he added. “It means he can move on with his life.”
Mr. Xie moved to Canada in 2014 and became an outspoken critic of the Chinese regime. According to Mr. Friedman, the former senior judge of China’s highest judicial court is now an Uber driver in Toronto area.
Mr. Friedman also said that Mr. Xie is doing “reasonably well." The U.S.-based lawyer added that a few of U.S. colleges have expressed interest in having Mr. Xie speak about the Chinese judicial system. He said that Mr. Xie cannot give seminars until his permanent residency is granted.
According to the commission’s report, China’s Interpol office “contested any political motivation” behind Mr. Xie’s prosecution and insisted on the legitimacy of the charges against him.
Interpol’s National Central Bureau of China (NCB) stated Mr. Xie is accused of perverting the course of justice in a civil trial in 1999 over a debt dispute case between Ping An Securities and Great Wall Industry. It alleged Mr. Xie accepted bribes from You Ziqi, leader of the Great Wall Industry who is a Canadian citizen.
The Globe and Mail reported in 2016 that Ms. You, who is still held in Chinese custody, said Chinese officials forced her to falsely confess that she had bribed Mr. Xie. Both Ms. You and Mr. Xie had said that the case against them is based on false testimony, instigated by Communist Party officials trying to cover up the theft of Ms. You’s family assets.
But in the commission’s report, the NCB denied that, citing Ms. You’s confessions “were voluntary and truthful.”
After authorities failed to press Mr. Xie into surrendering to China, they have targeted his relatives in back at home. Both Mr. Xie’s son and sister have been arrested.
The NCB asserted in the report that Mr. Xie’s son and sister have been arrested “according to law, and are accused of the joint crime of bribery, to which they have voluntarily and truthfully confessed.”
The commission noted in the ruling that it carefully considered the report China: Families of Interpol Targets Harassed published in 2018 by Human Rights Watch. The report documents methods adopted by Chinese authorities against relatives of corruption suspects living aboard to compel their return to China, and specifically addresses Mr. Xie’s family members’ situation.
In an interview with The Globe last year, Mr. Xie alleged that Chinese officials tried to send non-state actors to Toronto to intimidate him and force him back to China.
The NCB also denied the allegations, noting in the report that there was no involvement of “Chinese police aboard to pressure [Mr. Xie] in any form.” Although in interviews in 2018, judicial authorities in China acknowledged they have been trying to get associates of Mr. Xie to Canada to speak with him.
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