Our UCLA sources tell us, the University has deep ties with China for various reasons, and school officials are using their influence to try and secure the release of the 3 players. As for the nature of the influence ... UCLA is a prize school for Chinese students, many doctors have won research projects at the various UCLA medical facilities and UCLA sports has become popular in China.
We're also told Jack Ma -- a Chinese citizen worth an estimated $40 billion -- is also working to help free the 3 players. FYI, the team visited Alibaba headquarters Monday ... the day before the arrests.
Our UCLA sources also say there is no question the players pilfered the sunglasses so there's no attempt to prove them not guilty ... they are trying to use their considerable influence to ask for mercy. As once source put it, "UCLA and Ma are pulling out all the political stops to resolve this."