Tuesday, 30 September 2008


A US federal jury convicted two former Bank of China managers and their wives for masterminding a fraudulent scheme that stole US$485 million from the Chinese bank. The defendants were charged with racketeering, money laundering, international transport of stolen property and other crimes, and tried to challenge efforts to hold the men to U.S. banking standards and laws. Their co-defendant Yu Zhendong agreed earlier to be repatriated to China and was sentenced to 12-year imprisonment. His two co-conspirators, who refused to return to China, were later sentenced to 22 and 25 years in jail, and may still be deported to China to serve the sentences. The case marked the first instance of legal cooperation between China and the US under the Sino-US Agreement on Mutual Judicial Assistance in Criminal Matters. The territoriality of criminal jurisdiction does not seem to be a problem in this case as an American official said, "Financial crimes like these know no borders." Meanwhile, the Chinese officials acknowledged that there were major difficulties in trying to recover all or most of the stolen money.

Diplomatic Protection

Following reports that six Chinese women were forced to work as slaves in a Japanese laundry in Yamanashi prefecture, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman urged Japan to safeguard the rights of the workers. A Chinese agency in Hubei reportedly arranged the women to work in Japan as "technical interns" (what a novel euphemism for slavery!) so as to evade Japan's labour regulations.