Law Professor Margaret K. Lewis, an expert on Chinese criminal law, appeared in a number of articles regarding the UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting and detained in China.
Professor Lewis, who is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations as well as a Public Intellectual Program Fellow with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, explained the process the basketball players would be subjected to within the Chinese legal system.
Lewis appeared in the Los Angeles Times, "UCLA trio could face lengthy legal proceeding in China; basketball team moves on without them"; Bleacher Report, "Experts Weigh in on LiAngelo Ball's Murky Legal Situation After Arrest in China"; and in two articles in Reuters that were published by The New York Times and also appeared in the New York Post, Voice of America and too many other media outlets to list. The Reuters articles, "UCLA basketball players arrested in China could stay for months: ESPN" and "UCLA Basketball Players Suspected of Shoplifting in China Confined to Hotel," can be seen as they appeared in the New York Times.
The basketball players in question have since been allowed by China to return home to the United States.
In addition to her commentary in the media outlets above, Professor Lewis published "Protecting the Rights of the Accused in U.S.-China Relations" in ChinaFile, an English-language, not-for-profit, online magazine about China published by the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. In addition to publication in ChinaFile, a portion of the essay was republished by China Digital Times in the article "Draft Disciplinary Law Issued; Abuse Fears Raised."
In the essay, Professor Lewis discusses the practice and processes of extradition and repatriation of fugitives between China and the United States, and concludes that there are "sound reasons" for the United States to "emphasize human rights considerations when cooperating with China on law enforcement."
Should the United States emphasize human rights considerations when cooperating with China on law enforcement? There are sound reasons to do so.
First, an emphasis on human rights when cooperating with China on law enforcement is not American meddling in China's sovereignty and is consistent with the human rights standards Beijing has accepted voluntarily. The United States and China are both parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which provides that member states not transfer a person to a country "where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture." A case-by-case analysis is needed to confirm that each repatriation meets at least these minimal standards—an inquiry complicated by the opacity of China's criminal justice system and its Party disciplinary process.