Missionaries. Corporate investigators. Billionaires. Legal activists. China has a long history of arresting or holding foreigners for mysterious reasons, often in a tit-for-tat play to put pressure on overseas rivals. In recent years the number of such detentions has increased, a disturbing trend for foreigners visiting or conducting business in the country.
Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who was detained in Beijing on Monday, is the latest foreigner to be held by the authorities, in what some experts said might be retribution for the arrest of a senior Chinese tech executive in Canada this month. Here are some recent cases of foreigners caught in the cross hairs of China’s opaque legal system.