Judicial precedents

This section contains three types of resources:

  • A redacted and abridged database of known extradition cases to China since 2014, focusing on Europe (click the link on the top right side of this page). For more detailed information on individual cases, contact us directly in the Request Assistance section.
  • A collection of articles from Safeguard Defenders’ website which provide an overview of some of the latest developments related to China's extradition requests. 
  • A selection of key rulings in extradition cases, with a brief outline on the type of case, the outcome and the rationale behind the decision. These are a vital resource in building up case law to help defend against an extradition to China. 

Note: If you are involved in a China extradition case please contact Safeguard Defenders directly to request non-publicly available materials that may help to defend against the extradition.


The abridged database (top right hand corner) contains entries concerning some 400 individuals. While it is not exhaustive, it is by far the most comprehensive resource of its kind and likely contains the majority of requested extraditions to China since 2014. 2014 was the year China launched its global 'FoxHunt' operation to expand international fugitive repatriation work. 

The database shows a marked turn in rejecting China's extradition requests from 2019 onwards.

Before that year, almost all extradition requests from China were granted because there was little awareness in Europe at that time of the state of China’s criminal justice system, the extent of political persecution and human rights violations. Beijing was also smart in arguing for extradition on  “economic crimes” to avoid suspicions that they were politically-motivated requests. 

2019 was a watershed moment. That year the Swedish Supreme Court blocked the extradition of one of China’s most wanted individuals on the grounds of human rights concern and possible violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Around the same time, growing global media and public attention on human rights violations occurring in the Uyghur region, Hong Kong, and in China as a whole helped raise awareness of the implications of approving extraditions to China.

The majority of European courts handling China's extradition requests since then have likewise blocked them.

Then in October 2022. the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued a precedent-setting decision in the landmark Liu v. Poland case. Liu, a Taiwanese national, was accused of economic crimes. The ECtHR overturned Poland’s decision to extradite because of a “general situation of violence” in China’s penitentiary system. The ECtHR’s decision was unanimous, and an appeal by the Polish authorities was later denied. The ruling went into full effect on January 30, 2023, and is binding for all Council of Europe Member States.

Since the Liu v. Poland decision, every known extradition request to China that has reached judicial proceedings in Europe has been denied, referring to the erga omnes character of the ECtHR judgment. 

The single known extradition that has since occurred did not involve the courts; the individual “accepted” the request. However, Beijing routinely employs a range of covert tactics to force targets to return outside of extradition: please see China’s Extrajudicial Returns for more information.

However, China continues to file extradition requests and (ab)use international police cooperation mechanisms such as INTERPOL or UNODC.

Click on the link in the top right corner of this page to download the China Extradition Database (last update 2024-02-01).

General developments

Regular updates on extradition cases and related issues are posted on Safeguard Defenders' main site.

As of January 2024, these include:

Key extradition decisions 

This section contains cases and rulings, and some external links to news stories, on extradition requests from China by courts around the world. Most of them are recent and rejections are related to the risk of torture or other inhumane and degrading treatment, the lack of fair trial standards and - more recently - the ECtHR Liu v. Poland judgment. These cases are key in building up case law to defend against extradition to China. A brief summary of the key reasons behind the denial are also included in the list below.

Please click on the link in the top right corner of this page to download the full ruling or the links at the bottom of this page to open them online.

Note: Extraditions denied because there is no corresponding crime in the host country (dual criminality requirement) are not included in this list. 

Please contact Safeguard Defenders for information on other cases not listed here.


Sweden, 2019, Supreme Court

First and only known Chinese extradition request in Sweden. Target was ranked #3 on China’s "Top100 fugitives" list. The Supreme Court denied the extradition due to risk of torture and ill-treatment (ECHR article 3), possible use of death penalty (ECHR article 2) and lack of fair trials in China (ECHR article 6). The Court directly referenced Sweden’s country report on China. The Court also noted that the individual may be at risk of political persecution if returned, which would be in breach of Sweden's extradition law. Moreover, with regard to the diplomatic assurances provided by the Chinese authorities, the Court noted that China had made similar promises in the past but had violated them. China was asked to provide more evidence to substantiate their assurances but failed to do so. The Court concluded they were unable to rely on the assurances and there was a lack of means to ensure they were kept. Sweden does not have a bilateral extradition treaty with China, but allows for ad-hoc requests.

New Caledonia (France), 2019, Noumea Appeal’s Court

Extradition of a Chinese citizen and long-time resident of Australia was approved by the district court of France’s New Caledonia, but overruled by the Noumea Appeal’s Court on the basis of medical grounds. The individual requires specialized medicine, and the Court ruled it was unlikely that proper medical care would, or could be given, in Chinese detention or prison. The verdict is not publicly available.

Czech Republic, 2020, Constitutional Court

The extradition of eight Taiwanese men wanted for fraud was denied, as the lower courts had failed to take into account they might suffer torture and/or ill-treatment if they were returned. This would constitute both a violation of article 3 ECHR and Czech law. The Court also concluded that the diplomatic assurances provided by China were insufficient, that the assurances were in violation of Chinese law itself, and that China's legal safeguards against torture and ill-treatment were insufficient. Echoing the Swedish Supreme Court (above), it also noted that such assurances might not be enforceable, even if consular services were given access (and noted that it was possible they would not, despite the assurances). In general, the Court cautioned against diplomatic assurances from China. The Czech Republic does not have a bilateral extradition treaty with China, but allows for ad-hoc requests.

France, 2020, Paris Court of Appeal

The Court blocked the extradition of a Chinese national arrested on an INTERPOL Red Notice on allegations of fundraising fraud. It was denied on the basis of numerous international reports regarding the consistent violation of fundamental human rights, risk of torture and other inhumane and degrading treatment, and the absence of fair trial standards in China. It noted that the generic guarantees provided by the Chinese authorities in relation to the respect for the provisions of the European Court of Human Rights and in particular its 2016 note on “progress in the judicial safeguards for human rights” were insufficient to contradict ia. the European External Action Services’ assessment of a "recent, general and particularly disturbing degradation of human rights on the territory of the Government of the People's Republic of China".

Turkiye, 2021, District Court

The district court denied an extradition request from China for a Uyghur man accused of "terrorism". The individual was also granted refugee status. The Court claimed the Chinese side failed to provide adequate evidence to support the charge. Safeguard Defenders has not been able to track down the ruling. Turkiye signed an extradition treaty with China in 2019, but has not yet ratified it. The signing of the treaty itself caused significant controversy. However, China can and does request extraditions on an ad-hoc basis.

Poland, 2021, Warsaw Court of Appeal

A naturalized Swedish citizen and proclaimed Falun Gong practitioner was detained in Poland and sought for extradition by China for alleged economic crimes. After first approval of extradition by both the district court and the Warsaw Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court overturned the Appeal Court's decision and sent it back to be tried again. During proceedings before the Supreme Court, the prosecutor changed their mind and opposed the extradition request, correctly pointing out that, in their view, the guarantees (diplomatic assurances) issued by China lack legal validity, as they come from the Chinese embassy, rather than the relevant judicial organs in China. However, during the retrial before the Court of Appeal, the prosecutor once again supported the extradition. In its final decision in which it blocked the extradition, the Court stated that the lack of possibility of parole after being given a life sentence in China violates both Polish law and article 3 (torture and ill-treatment) of the ECHR. The lack of transparency regarding the state of the penitentiary system was also mentioned in their reasoning, as was the secretive nature of China's use of the death penalty. It also noted the risk of human rights violations against the target due to their Falun Gong beliefs. Given China's public and well-known stance on Falun Gong (defined as one of the "five poisons" to be eradicated), the Court also stated it would find it difficult to accept China's diplomatic assurances.

France, 2021, Bordeaux Court of Appeal

The request for the extradition of a Chinese national following an INTERPOL Red Notice over alleged money laundering charges was denied by the Court on three substantial grounds relating to violations of the bilateral extradition treaty and French law. 1) The alleged money laundering charge can only constitute a crime under French law as an accessory crime to a primary one. No evidence of a primary crime was provided by the Chinese authorities. 2) Recorded conversations between Chinese public security authorities and the wanted individual indicated the political nature of the persecution, as the individual was assured multiple times that he was wanted only to assist as a witness against former public security vice-minister Sun Lijun, accused of violating Party discipline. 3) With regard to its human rights obligations under the European Convention, the Court noted that the documentation provided by the Chinese authorities regarding “progress in the judicial protection of human rights” did not help to verify the reality of conditions and extensively cited Safeguard Defenders’ reports on the use of Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL) and Liuzhi -- both incommunicado detention systems -- to highlight the serious risk of torture or other inhumane and degrading treatment.

Cyprus, 2022, Larnaca District Court

This was the first extradition case to come after the bilateral extradition treaty came into effect. The extradition request of an alleged economic criminal was denied on the grounds of the risk of torture and other ill-treatment (ECHR article 3), as well as the lack of fair trials (ECHR article 6). Following denial of the extradition request, China issued an INTERPOL Red Notice against the individual's wife. Previously, during the proceedings, three family members of the couple in China were arrested, while another disappeared in what appeared to be an attempt at pressuring the individual to return to China "voluntarily" and renounce his rights to stop the extradition process before the Cypriot Court.

European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), 6 October 2022 (entry into effect: 30 January 2023)

In its landmark Liu v. Poland judgment, the ECtHR unanimously rejected the extradition of a Taiwanese national wanted for alleged economic crimes on the grounds it would violate article 3 of the Convention. The Court noted that "having regard to the [...] various reports by United Nations bodies and other organisations, to which the Court attached considerable weight, the extent to which torture and other forms of ill-treatment were credibly and consistently reported to be used in Chinese detention facilities and penitentiaries could be equated to the existence of a general situation of violence. Thereby the applicant was relieved from showing specific personal grounds of fear, it being enough that it was established that, upon extradition, he would be placed in a Chinese detention center or penitentiary where, the Court concluded, he would face a real risk of ill-treatment." The Court also noted that the informal diplomatic assurances offered by China were insufficient to lift a Member State from their own obligations under the principle of non-refoulement, especially considering "where the many significant shortcomings in the domestic legislation in the country of destination and where allegations of serious abuses had been made in independent reports from numerous sources, the benefit of the doubt should be granted to an individual seeking protection". Furthermore, the Court also found a violation of article 5 §1 of the Convention (arbitrary detention): "having regard to the nature of the extradition proceedings, whose aim was to ensure that the prosecution of the applicant would be pursued in another State, and the unjustified delays in the proceedings, the applicant’s detention had not been “lawful”."

Poland's appeal against the decision was denied by the Court. The judgment came into full effect on January 30, 2023. 

Croatia, 2021/2022, Supreme Court

The local district court of Zagreb in late 2021 denied an extradition request for alleged economic crimes and for being an organized crime member (Triad), a decision later upheld by the Supreme Court. Denial was based on the lack of evidence to support the allegations, and the Supreme Court notes that requests for further supporting evidence have been ignored. It further notes that a decision to extradite under such circumstances would deprive the person of a fair trial. The court(s) also notes that the use of death penalty for one of the alleged crimes would violate both article 2 and 3 of the ECHR, and references prior ECtHR cases. This case was decided upon before the landmark China-specific extraction case, which went into effect January 30, 2023 and is thus not referenced. Some of the alleged crimes have also passed the statute of limitation.

Italy, 2023, Court of Cassation

In the first Council of Europe Member State verdict following the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Liu v. Poland ruling, Italy’s supreme court overturned the decision to extradite by the Ancona Court of Appeal (and its own 2015 sentence – see below). The Court noted in particular that there was a concrete risk of inhumane and degrading treatment if the individual were to be extradited and subjected to detention in China. It reiterated that “The Court believes that, given their general scope, the arguments contained in the ECtHR ruling are fully valid also in the present proceedings and not limited to the specific case brought to the attention of the ECtHR. In fact, it should be highlighted that the sentence in question concerned a Chinese citizen investigated for ordinary crimes and against whom there were no specific risks of discrimination resulting from personal reasons (political reasons, ethnic minorities, religion). It follows that the shortcomings highlighted by the ECtHR with regard to respect for human rights have a systemic value and, therefore, also apply to other subjects whose extradition to China is requested.”

The Italian prosecution agreed with the defense on the grounds for rejection of the extradition request in line with the ECtHR during debates.

Italy, 2023, Florence Court of Appeal

Extradition was denied and house arrest lifted as because the Chinese authorities had failed to provide the necessary documentation to substantiate the extradition request. The Court further noted that “moreover, on the basis of reports from international non-governmental organizations, the systematic violation of human rights in China through intimidating practices, unfair trials and arbitrary detention appears clear, confirming it would not be opportune to concede the requested extradition of the Chinese citizen in question”.

Cyprus, 2023, Paphos District Court

The district court of Paphos denied the extradition of a mother and her adult son accused of economic crimes. The ruling argued that the assurances provided by China did not eliminate the risk of violating the right to a fair trial or protect against torture and ill-treatment. The Court further noted the recent ECtHR decision concerning human rights violations, as well as as the UN Committee Against Torture's cautioning against reliance on diplomatic assurances to ensure protection against torture. The Court concluded that the extradition would violate both European and international law. This was the second known ruling on an extradition to China after the ECtHR ruling came into effect.

Albania, 2023, Supreme Court

The Court's ruling did not include reasoning for the denial of this extradition request, however it did reference the reasoning for the earlier approval of the extradition by the lower Court of Appeal, as well as the defense's final arguments before the Supreme Court. It is Albania's first known denial of an extradition request from China. Defense counsel argued against the extradition on the basis of violations of article 3  (torture and ill-treatment) and article 6 (right to a fair trial) ECHR, but focused in particular on the recent ECtHR ruling, which should bar any approval of extradition to China, especially as the target (an alleged economic criminal) was very similar to the case tested by ECtHR. Albania does not have a bilateral extradition treaty with China but allows for ad-hoc requests.

Italy, 2023, Rome Court of Appeal

The Court denied the extradition of an individual accused of fraud and arrested on the basis of an INTERPOL Red Notice in early 2023. It cited the ECtHR’s determination of a “general situation of violence in China’s penitentiary system”, which is incompatible with Italy’s obligations under international law, its Constitution and the provisions of the bilateral extradition treaty with the People’s Republic of China. Despite the fact that the requesting authorities did not provide any diplomatic assurances, the Court added that if guarantees had been provided by the Chinese authorities, they would  would have brought forward would have been null and void in accordance with the ECtHR judgment.



Italy, 2015, Court of Cassation

The Court of Cassation rejected the appeal against the approval of an extradition request of a Chinese national accused of fraud. It rejected all elements of defense's, ia. lack of judicial guarantees during the investigative and judicial phase, risk of forced labour in detention and the lack of ratification of the bilateral extradition treaty. In its reasoning, the Court of Cassation noted in particular that the advanced stage of legislative approval of the bilateral extradition treaty signed between Italy and the People’s Republic of China on October 7, 2010, demonstrates the political will of the State parties to extradite wanted individuals […] on the basis of mutual reliance on the effective recognition of fair trial standards and the full respect of fundamental human rights in the respective detention facilities”.

Such reasoning was later overturned by the Court of Cassation’s ruling in 2023 (see above).

Spain, 2017/2018, National Court

A class action extradition case concerning over 200 Taiwanese citizens was approved, the Court declaring that issues related to torture, ill-treatment and human rights abuse were generic and not specific (enough) to indicate a concrete risk for the particular individuals involved and lacked evidence. Likewise, it did not consider the possibility of life imprisonment to be of concern and did not identify weaknesses in China's parole system as grounds for stopping the extradition (unlike the 2021 case in Poland, see above). The ruling made reference to prior ECtHR rulings. 

Morocco, 2021, Rabat Court of Appeal

In the first extradition to China case following the ratification of the bilateral extradition treaty with Morocco in January 2021, Uyghur Human Rights Defender Yidiresi Aishan (aka Idris Hasan) was arrested on the basis of an INTERPOL Red Notice while transiting through Morocco’s Casablanca airport on the night of July 19, 2021. On July 20, the King’s Prosecutor at the Casablanca Criminal Court of First Instance ordered his extradition pending a decision by the Rabat Court of Cassation.

On July 29, 2021, INTERPOL’s Special Group Notices and Diffusions suspended the Red Notice. On August 11, 2021, INTERPOL informed the National Central Bureau (BCN) - Rabat that after its examination, the Red Notice in question was canceled because of a violation of Articles 2 (1) and 3 of the Statute, binding the Organization to “the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, and strictly prohibiting “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character”. That same day, several UN Special Procedures mandate holders appealed to the Moroccan Government, noting the absolute and non-derogable prohibition on returning persons to a place where they would be in danger of being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.

On December 15, Rabat’s Court of Cassation issued a favourable opinion on the extradition request in its ruling No. 1799. On December 16, 2021, four UN Special Procedures mandate holders urged the Moroccan government not to implement the Court of Cassation’s decision in favour of the extradition, specifically citing the risk of “serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, or torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. 

On December 20, 2021, the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) granted the appeal for interim measures requested by Safeguard Defenders and Mena Rights Group. To date, the case remains under full investigation by the UNCAT. Idris Hasan is still detained at the Tiflet Detention Center in Morocco.

Poland, 2022, Warsaw Court of Appeal

A request for extradition of a Taiwanese man was approved by the Court of Appeal. However, the case was brought before the European Court of Human Rights, which found the extradition would constitute a violation of article 3 of the Convention (see Liu v. Poland above). As the man spent about five years in detention during the judicial proceedings, Poland was also found guilty of arbitrary detention of the man (article 5§1 ECHR) and slapped with a fine as a result. Poland’s attempt to appeal the verdict was refused.

Portugal, 2022, Constitutional Court

The local, Appeal, Supreme and finally the Constitutional Court all approved the extradition of a Chinese woman. However, after an initial rejection of her asylum claim, the higher asylum court struck down the initial decision and a final decision is now pending. Due to the ECtHR decision, it is unlikely the government can carry out the extradition even if she is denied asylum. None of the extradition approval rulings examined Portugal’s legal commitments under international or ECHR law.

Failure to take international legal obligations into account is very common for cases where extradition is approved.


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