China allows US siblings detained since 2018 to return home

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China has allowed two US citizens detained for more than three years to return home, in what appears to be part of a deal that also freed Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese technology giant Huawei, who was arrested in Canada in December 2018.

The South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday that siblings Victor and Cynthia Liu left China by plane from Shanghai on Saturday.

The pair were originally detained in 2018 as the Chinese authorities were looking for their father in connection with a fraud case. However, the pair deny having had any contact with their father in years.

While the Liu siblings had been prevented from leaving China since June 2018, they did remain at liberty and were apparently able to move freely within the country.

Meng’s arrest came at the request of US authorities, who wanted her in connection with alleged bank fraud, among other things. The arrest infuriated China and has severely strained US-Chinese relations. However, after a deal was reached between the US and China, Meng was allowed to return home on Saturday.

Two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, detained in China since Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in Canada, were also permitted to return home on Saturday. Many countries have accused China of hostage diplomacy for the detention of the two men.

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