Two American siblings are making a public plea for help after being trapped in China for a year due to their father being put on the Chinese government’s most-wanted list.
Cynthia and Victor Liu, who traveled to China last year to pay respects to their dying grandmother, have been prevented from leaving the country due to the government-imposed exit ban.
A former executive of a state-owned bank, Liu Changming is one of China’s most wanted fugitives, CBS reports.
He reportedly fled the country in 2007 after being linked to a $1.4 billion fraud case.
Meanwhile, their mother Sandra, also a U.S. citizen, is imprisoned in China for reasons that are still unclear. The siblings have not been able to see or speak with her as well.
According to their lawyer, David Pressman, the Chinese government has been pressuring them to convince their father to return to China and face his charges. He claims China is using the siblings as a form of “human bait.”
While the siblings are free to move anywhere within China, they remain under constant surveillance by the Chinese security services.
Cynthia, 27, a consulting firm employee and Victor, a 19-year-old Georgetown undergrad, have both claimed that they don’t have any means of contacting their father as he abandoned them in 2012.
“This man abandoned my family many years ago. We are not in touch with him, nor do we have any way of contacting him,” Cynthia said in a video posted by CBS This Morning.
In the clip, Cynthia made her plea that she and her brother be allowed to go home.
“We’ve done nothing wrong, and we need to go home. We wake up every morning terrified,” she said.
“We feel trapped. We live with constant distress because this is not our home, and we are not here by choice,” Cynthia added.
Last year, National Security Adviser John Bolton has demanded the release of the Lius to no avail. Despite the odds, Cynthia remains hopeful.
“I have told Victor again and again that no matter how dark our lives can be, we need to hold on to hope,” she noted.
The siblings are now hoping that their pleas for help will be brought to the attention of top Chinese officials who will be visiting Washington this week for trade talks.