Home » Arrest of Chinese citizen in Italy rekindles debate on PRC extradition

Arrest of Chinese citizen in Italy rekindles debate on PRC extradition

A person of Chinese origin has been in an Italian prison for over a month after Chinese authorities accused him of financial fraud. The defence considers the arrest to be ancillary, citing the historical precedent of Liu v Poland. At the same time, activists and an Italian senator are calling for political action and the termination of the extradition agreement with Beijing

The case. On March 21, a Chinese engineer was arrested while on holiday near Ancona, Italy. Interpol had previously issued a red notice on him after the Chinese authorities in Changchun, a city in northeast China, accused him of financial fraud involving 1.9 billion renminbi (roughly $262 million) affecting 10,000 savers.

  • He is currently in pre-trial detention in Italy due to the “consistent risk” of escape, awaiting a decision on his extradition request to China.
  • That justification is currently being challenged by the defence lawyer, who argues that the Chinese citizen has no criminal record, that he was not aware of the criminal proceedings against him in China and that the measures taken by the Chinese authorities came more than a year and a half after his regular departure from China.

Precedent and contradictions. According to the defence, there would be no grounds for the use of pre-trial detention in this case as highlighted by the European Court of Human Rights’ Liu v. Poland judgment of October 6 2022.

  • After the Liu v. Poland case, as noted by our sister website, Italy’s Supreme Court blocked the extradition of a woman, the former CEO of a well-known Chinese company, due to concerns of violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The political case. “The arrest and pre-trial detention of Chinese citizens in Ancona – in contrast to the precedent set by the Liu vs. Poland case – underlines the urgency of a clear political decision regarding the bilateral extradition agreements with the People’s Republic of China that are still in force in ten EU Member States,” comments Laura Harth, Campaign Director of the NGO Safeguard Defenders.

  • She called for the suspension of bilateral extradition agreements with the People’s Republic of China in the European Union.
  • After the Supreme Court ruling in March 2023, Senator Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, had asked the government to suspend the extradition treaty with China and to consider “a review of the use of Interpol’s Red Notice, in view of the evidence of its instrumental use by China”.

Subscribe to our newsletter