What China is Completely Missing in its Latest U.S. Extradition Gambit
One of the oddities about Chinese politics is that most members of the ruling Communist Party who have lost a power struggle or stolen millions of dollars of public funds prefer to flee to the U.S. — enemy territory in the minds of top Chinese leaders. Odder still is that when such defections occur, the Chinese government has the chutzpato ask the U.S. government to return these fugitives even though the two nations do not have an extradition treaty.
Beijing’s most recent request concerns Ling Wancheng, the youngest brother of Ling Jihua, the former director of the powerful General Office of the party’s Central Committee. Ling Jihua himself was arrested about a year ago, allegedly for corruption. Based on press reports, his family members have amassed a huge fortune, apparently relying on Ling’s influence. His sister-in-law and nephew built a thriving advertising and public relations business that won contracts for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Shanghai 2010 World Expo. Ling Wancheng ran a private equity fund that made well-timed investments in media and Internet companies, netting a profit of over 1.2 billion yuan(roughly $200 million).
After his brother’s fall from power, Ling Wancheng absconded to the U.S. and bought a $2.5 million house in California...