The son of jailed British investigator, Peter Humphrey, has appealed to UK prime minister David Cameron for help during his 3-day China visit this week. Humphrey is currently being held in Shanghai for his involvement in pharmaceutical giant GSK, which was charged with bribery. However, it is unlikely Cameron will risk compromising his economic ties with China to answer the son’s plea, the Telegraph reports:
Peter Humphrey, 57, and Yu Yingzeng, his 60-year-old American wife, were detained by Shanghai police on July 10.
In late August the couple was formally accused of involvement in “operating illegal research companies and trafficking personal information”. They were paraded on Chinese state television wearing orange prison uniforms and Mr Humphrey made what was purportedly a confession.
….Until disappearing in July, Mr Humphrey ran ChinaWhys, a risk management consultancy that specialised in helping foreign firms safety navigate China’s notoriously complicated and corrupt business environment.
ChinaWhy’s website, which remains active despite Mr Humphrey’s incarceration, says it “offers discreet risk mitigation solutions, consulting and commercial investigation services to corporate clients in important and sensitive matters across the Greater China region and beyond.”
Among its successes, the business lists “neutralizing a counterfeit-and-fraud syndicate that hijacked the business of a global consumer goods manufacturer, eliminating fraud from the buying operation of a leading megastore chain… and orchestrating the recovery of a kidnapped child in China.”
Mr Humphrey’s clients also included GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the British pharmaceuticals giant that found its China’s operations at the centre of a major corruption probe in July.
So far, the son’s calls to the British embassy haven’t been answered, and it seems highly improbable that Cameron will chance jeopardizing the proposed agreement with China on freeing up trade between China and the EU by bringing up Humphrey’s predicament, or human rights at all for that matter. Especially seeing how this deal could be worth tens of billions of dollars a year.
Not to mention that Cameron is trying to smooth over tensions with China after hurting the feelings of the Chinese people by meeting with the Dalai Lama this past May.