From 1967 to 1969 the PRC kept two dozen British diplomats and civilians as de facto hostages. The British were able to effect the release of their personnel by decoupling the hostage situation from broader political and economic issues through protracted negotiation.
It is widely believed that China detained two Canadians in response to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou. In 2019, Australian Yang Hengjun's detention was also linked to a renewed effort at hostage diplomacy in response to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou. Prior to Hengjun's detention Australian government had sharply criticized the Chinese government for detaining the two Canadians. The 2020 arrest of the Australian news anchor Cheng Lei has been viewed as a possible incidence of hostage diplomacy.
The Lowy Institute has concluded that China’s use of hostage diplomacy, among other things, undermine’s their “peaceful rise” narrative. The Taiwanese government has expressed concerns that the Hong Kong national security law will be used to facilitate further Chinese hostage diplomacy.
According to Eric Edelman and Aykan Erdemir of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, hostage diplomacy has been widely used by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The case of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor working in Turkey imprisoned in 2016, has been widely referred to as a case of diplomatic hostage taking.
Iran's government has used hostage diplomacy as a key diplomatic tool. Hostages have included, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Jolie King, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, Morad Tahbaz, Kamal Foroughi, Aras Amiri, Kameel Ahmady, and Anousheh Ashouri.
North Korea has made wide use of hostage diplomacy as a tool against the USA, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and various European nations. Those held hostage are often tourists or exchange students who are either charged with minor offenses or espionage. In recent years it has been speculated that the regime of Kim Jong Un had evolved from using hostages to gain leverage to using hostages to gain leverage and as human shields to protect against a feared American intervention. The case of Otto Warmbier, which ended in Warmbier’s death soon after his release, is a particularly well known example of North Korean hostage diplomacy.
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