Posted by: Third Tone Devil | 17 October 2010

Saying no to Hungary: Did China release a murder suspect?

According to this weekend’s Népszabadság, the biggest Hungarian daily (F. Gy. A. “Nem jött jogsegélykérelem,” 16-17 October, p. 2), a Chinese court has released a 26-year-old Chinese man suspected by Hungarian authorities of murdering his 21-year-old Norwegian girlfriend in August in Budapest. He left Hungary on the day of the murder. After an international arrest warrant has been issued by Hungary, Chinese authorities arrested the man but refused Hungary’s extradition request and released him after 30 days, saying that without evidence they could not detain him any longer. Although this may be technically true, Chinese police does not have such scruples in many other cases that concern far lighter crimes, so this step should be seen as a snub to Hungary.

China’s consular authorities in Hungary had, according to the article, requested that Chinese police travel to Hungary to investigate the case. Hungarian authorities reacted that China should request legal assistance through a standard international procedure.

China’s refusal to extradite criminal suspects has become a consistent way of “saying no,” yet Chinese authorities often seek the repatriation of Chinese suspects who are detained abroad, although not necessarily through formal extradition procedures. In the late nineties, Chinese police had come to Hungary to investigate murders among the Chinese here, but after the same newspaper revealed this the case embarrassed Hungarian authorities, who denied that they had permitted such an arrangement.

The reliability of the Hungarian report, which is based on Norwegian media reports, is questionable. It is written by the same Fekete Gy. Attila who, in the nineties, produced a bombastic article accusing Chinese migrants in Hungary of being “mostly illegal,” restaurants of being hotbeds of human trafficking and money laundering, and Chinese merchandise of being largely counterfeit.

Sina.com.cn reported on the arrest warrant based on Hungarian sources, but the more recent developments do not seem to have been reported in mainland Chinese media. Based on Norwegian media, the Falungong’s Epoch Times reported in September that the suspect had given himself up and confessed to the murder.

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