About 46 out of 100 fugitives wanted by Chinese authorities are freely residing in the United States or Canada, according to Reuters.
Although the United States government has agreed to aid in the repatriation process when credible evidence is presented against alleged offenders, it does not uphold an extradition treaty with China. Neither does Canada.
Most fugitives claim Chinese authorities’ charges against them are false, and some are seeking refugee status. The U.S. and Canada each have granted citizenship to at least one fugitive.
Wei Chen, who is now an American citizen living in Florida, was accused of misappropriating funds. However, he claims he simply is a scapegoat in the decline of a state-run company.
“The list has ruined my life, but I’m not hiding,” Chen said. I don’t know about the other 99 people, but I didn’t do what they said.”
Chinese citizens can be subject to deportation if they break the law after entering North America.
This is the case for Ynag Xiuzhu, who is being held in a U.S. detention center awaiting deportation for entering the country with a fake passport. The Chinese government accuses her of stealing $39 million.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement that it will “vigorously pursue prosecutions” against Chinese fugitives involved in “alleged money laundering or other criminal activity in this country.”