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English>>Foreign Affairs

First Chinese extradition from Latin America sets precedent

(Xinhua)    20:05, July 19, 2016

BEIJING, July 19 (Xinhua) - China's precedent-setting extradition of a suspected criminal from Latin America is built on increasing recognition of the country's progress in human rights and will have long-lasting implications, according to Chinese authorities and experts.

After exhausting all legal remedies through Peruvian courts and Inter-American procedures, Huang Haiyong, who is suspected of smuggling crude soybean oil into China, was repatriated Sunday, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said.

Since his capture by Interpol in 2008, Huang fought an eight-year battle against his extradition from Peru, and the case went as far as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court of Peru, the GAC said.

It was the first time that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights heard an extradition case that concerned China, which emerged victorious in the judgment, said the GAC.

The case also marks China's first extradition of a criminal suspect from Latin America, and the repatriation was the first of its kind under an extradition treaty between China and Peru, according to the GAC.


Despite the eventual success, the extradition was not always smooth, said Liu Huawen, a researcher with the Institute of International Law under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, whose expert opinion was provided by Peru to the Inter-American Court.

"Huang Haiyong created a number of obstacles to evade legal punishment, including claims that he could face the death penalty and risk of torture upon extradition," said the GAC, adding that Chinese officials traveled to Peru as many as six times.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had sided with a number of Huang's arguments against extradition before submitting the case to the Inter-American Court, said Liu.

The court, however, found that extradition would not expose Huang to "a real, foreseeable and personal risk" of torture, according to its judgement.

The court also found that, based on China's standing criminal law, Huang could not possibly be sentenced to death upon repatriation.

China's criminal law used to allow for the death penalty for smugglers of ordinary merchandise, which included crude soybean oil.

But an amendment eliminating capital punishment for various economic crimes, including smuggling ordinary merchandise, came into force in May 2011.


Huang's capture is part of China's global campaign, nicknamed Fox Hunt, to capture fugitives. Data given by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security showed that the campaign helped return 857 fugitives to China between April and December last year.

Unlike other cases, China had to deal not only with a foreign country's legal system, but also the Inter-American mechanism, which emphasizes human rights protection, said Liu.

"China's progress in rule of law and human rights laid the foundation upon which the Inter-American Court rendered its judgment," said Liu, who specializes in human rights law. The Chinese government participated to exhaust nearly all possible legal proceedings sought by Huang, showing considerable respect for the rule of law in Peru and Latin America, said Tan Daoming, an associate researcher with the Research Institute of Latin America of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


The process to extradite Huang has closely followed all relevant legal proceedings and is itself a prime example of China's respect for the rule of law, said Tan.

"The extradition provides valuable experience for further cooperation on extradition and law enforcement," the GAC said.

"Geographically and culturally speaking, Latin America is quite a distance from China. But the case sends a signal that Latin America will not be a shelter for criminal suspects," said Yang Zhimin, a researcher with the Research Institute of Latin America at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Bianji)

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