California Businessman David Ji Subject to Ongoing Detention in China

April 5, 2005

Sichuan provincial authorities have held American businessman David Ji under house arrest since October 2004. Ji is president of Apex Digital, a California electronics firm. Apex Digital’s lawyers say that Mr. Ji initially was detained without a warrant and was forced to sign a number of commercial agreements detrimental to the interests of Apex before he was granted access to his lawyer as provided by Chinese law. Police also apparently contravened the 1980 U.S.-China Consular Convention by failing to notify U.S. consular officials about Ji’s detention within the specified four days after first detention. Public security authorities reportedly are investigating charges that Ji wrote bad checks to Sichuan Changhong Electronics Co., a state owned company that is involved in a commercial dispute with Apex. Apex lawyers claim they can prove Ji is innocent of the charges, and have expressed concern that police are holding Ji hostage at Changhong’s behest for leverage in the commercial dispute. For recent media accounts of the case, click here and here.

For additional details, see below.



David Long Fen Ji, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and president and chairman of Apex Digital, a California company that distributes home electronics, has been detained in China since October 24, 2004. Sichuan Changhong Electronics Co., Ltd., a state-owned company and one of Apex’s major suppliers, appears to have instigated the detention. Apex and Changhong are engaged in a commercial dispute.

According to Apex lawyers, Shenzhen public security officials, working in cooperation with counterparts from Mianyang, Sichuan, initially detained Ji in Shenzhen without a detention warrant (a violation of China’s criminal procedure law), and then accompanied him to Changhong’s headquarters in Mianyang. Mianyang officials subsequently placed Ji under house arrest and launched a criminal investigation into claims that Ji wrote bad checks to Changhong. Apex contends that the checks at issue had been provided to serve as collateral for certain payments to be made by Apex, which were in fact made. Changhong reportedly never presented the checks for payment to Apex’s bank.

Apex lawyers contend that Mianyang officials, working in cooperation with Changhong, detained Ji for several months without access to his personal counsel or counsel for Apex and forced him to sign numerous agreements detrimental to Apex’s interests. One such agreement transfers all of Apex’s assets to Changhong in payment of the full amount of the contested debt. Another provides that Changhong will not pursue criminal charges or civil remedies against Ji and Apex if Apex pays hundreds of millions of dollars to Changhong. Attorneys for Changhong are reportedly attempting to enforce these agreements in Los Angeles Superior Court. Despite the fact that Ji is the subject of a criminal investigation, Mianyang authorities notified the U.S. consulate only after Ji had signed these documents, at least a day past the deadline for consular notification set forth in the U.S. – PRC Consular Convention.

Ji is currently being detained at the Fu Le Shan Hotel in Mianyang, which is owned by the Mianyang municipal government. According to Apex lawyers, he has been under 24-hour guard throughout his detention and all of his communications are reportedly monitored. Ji’s attorneys in China report that they have had great difficulty getting access to him and have never been able to meet with him privately, despite numerous requests. Public security authorities claim that such meetings are “inappropriate” or “inconsistent with Chinese law.” In February, Apex attorneys for Apex finally were permitted to meet briefly with Ji in Beijing. Provincial public security officials dictated the time and place of the meeting.