China takes steps to drive out foreigners with an illicit past

Updated 2017-12-22 11:00:20 Global Times

Recently, the repatriation of two American fugitives from China has triggered a lot of attention on social media.

On November 14, Chinese police handed over a male fugitive who was involved in stealing a car in the U.S. to U.S. law enforcement officers at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. He had fled to Shanghai on a tourist visa and worked as an English teacher since November 2009, the Xinhua News Agency reported in November.

Another "Red Notice" fugitive was also repatriated from Shanghai in October after Chinese authorities received a request to locate and provisionally arrest him. The man sexually assaulted children aged 6 to 12 in the U.S. from 2009 to 2012 and fled to Shanghai in May, where he was captured, Xinhua reported in October.

During U.S. President Donald Trump's recent visit to China, both sides agreed to strengthen Sino-U.S. cooperation in law enforcement and cybersecurity and reiterated not being a haven for foreign fugitives. They agreed to have active discussions on building a long-term mechanism to cooperate in apprehending fugitives and chasing illicit money.

China has so far sent back four American fugitives to the U.S. this year, and the U.S. side has handed over two Chinese fugitives to China, Xinhua reported.

Recent years have seen considerably more effort being put into keeping foreigners with a criminal history out of China through more cross-border cooperation with other countries on transnational crime and stricter visa policies. Employers and HR managers also have their own ways of protecting their business from people with a criminal past, and they shared some of them with Metropolitan.

Background checks critical

Li Tao, the HR director of a multinational company with more than 20 years of work experience in human resource management, conducts an extensive background check before recruiting foreign employees.

"The candidates need to show us their notarized clean criminal records. At the same time, we use third-party companies to investigate their backgrounds, including calling their former department and HR managers to assess their abilities, work attitude, and whether they behave inappropriately at work," said Li.

Another technique Li employs is checking the candidate's income verification statement at the bank. If the candidates say they have a certain amount of work experience at a company, but there is no record of a stable income during that time, it might be suspicious, he said.

"Social platforms are also a good channel. I like to view the LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter page of the candidates to learn about them and see their endorsements, which can partly prove their conduct, whether they are honest and their abilities," said Li.

Francis Pang, chairman of the board for Canadian International Schools of Beijing (CIS Beijing), told Metropolitan in a previous interview that CIS Beijing hires teachers only after several processes have taken place. He said the applicant is required to provide a current and valid passport, their resume, certified certificates, a minimum of three reference letters, and a current no-criminal record from their home country and the country they are currently residing in.

"The two most common sources for hiring staff are Search Associates and the New Brunswick Department of Education in Canada," said Pang.

Search Associates is an organization that vets teachers through an extensive network of professionals that check the background, references, and so on for any teacher who applies for positions advertised.

According to Pang, all the teachers or administrators must supply three or more people who will verify their teaching experience and background and those individuals must submit confidential references online. He said all the teachers hired by CIS Beijing must meet the stringent standards required in Canada.

Speaking specifically to background checks for offenses against minors, Pang said the school takes it seriously.

"All teachers considered for hiring must submit a current police report indicating that they have never been convicted of a crime against a child," he said. "Further to it, personal phone calls are made to the referees of the candidates considered for hiring. E-mails are also sent out seeking a further personal reference - a special school-based form that we use to gather further current information on each candidate."

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