Every time we turn around, Joe Biden is at an ice cream shop, gleefully licking an ice cream cone as though he doesn’t have a care in the world. Meanwhile, China and other governments that are hostile to the U.S. are holding citizens hostage under bogus charges.
Imagine this. Your loved one is a U.S. citizen. They travel to China to pay respects to their mother who has passed away. While there, the Chinese government decides that they are guilty of espionage and throws them in jail. They cannot come home, even though the U.S. is where their life is.
Unfortunately, this is the reality that Kai Li is living. The United Nations has condemned the act and his family has called the absence, which is going on six years, “devastating.” His son, Harrison Li, has said, “Our government has failed us by allowing this to continue for so long. They need to find the will and motivation to get him released.”
And he’s not alone, either. It is estimated that there are at least 68 Americans who are experiencing similar stories.
The worst part about it is that the Biden administration has done nothing to help the families reunite. He’s content to turn a blind eye as long as someone will give him a scoop of Rocky Road, so he doesn’t have to think about it.
As ABC News reported, dozens of families blame the Biden administration. Why? They are “failing to adequately confront a crisis that experts say is only getting worse.”
The number of people who are being detained overseas is staggering. The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, a DC-based organization that is an advocate for hostages and journalist safety has estimated that there are at least 67 individuals being held in overseas countries – and they’re all U.S. citizens. And 90% of those countries are hostile to the U.S., which makes negotiations even more difficult – but certainly not impossible.
When you consider that 10% are being held by countries that are NOT hostile, you would think that would be easy. That’s when you have to ask the vital question….is the Biden administration even trying?
Most families who are in this mess would answer with a resounding “no.”
Cynthia Loertscher is the director of research, hostage advocacy, and legislative affairs for the foundation. She refers to those who are being held hostage as “geopolitical pawns,” primarily used by such nations as China, Russia, and Venezuela so that they can force concessions or demand change.
She goes on to explain, “They become human collateral to try to get the United States to budge on its policies on a very large scale which is why these cases are so difficult to solve.”
It seems as though more countries are testing the water to see if they can get any political gain.
There is some action being taken by the Biden administration, but it’s not enough that any country is taking it seriously. Instead, it puts the burden back on anyone who is traveling outside of the country.
An executive order was recently signed by President Biden so that federal agencies can impose financial sanctions that are involved in wrongful detention or hostage-taking.
The State Department also established a new indicator so that Americans are alerted if there’s a risk of being wrongfully detained by a foreign government where they may be traveling.
One official with the State Department has promised that they are working on things. “Anyone who has worked on these issues for any period of time knows that strategies need to be case specific. They have to be informed by the intelligence and information about a particular case. They need to take into account country-specific facts, regional facts and anything we can bring to bear to get what we all ultimately want, which is an American home with his or her loved ones.”
It sounds like a lot of lip service, but we’ll have to see. Meanwhile, if you plan on traveling, it might be wise to avoid going to a country where they may wrongfully detain you. There’s a good chance you could be there for a while.