Saturday, 4 April 2015

Free At Last

According to Dui Hua Foundation, Xue Feng has arrived home in Houston
Foreign media are reporting that Chinese-American geologist Xue Feng has been released and deported back to the United States, according to the Dui Hua Foundation.

If this is true, it will be a bitter sweet reunion for his family, who have been fighting for his release all this time. He was detained in China in November 2007, then formally detained in February 2008 and then tried in July 2009, then eventually sentenced in July 2010 for "illegally procuring state secrets", a vague charge.

The US government had lobbied hard for his release, and even when President Barack Obama visited Beijing and personally brought up the case, his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Xue's case was a difficult one, as China still insists on recognizing those who were born in China, but became naturalized citizens elsewhere as Chinese citizens. As a result, those returning to the mainland to do business are putting themselves at risk of being in trouble with the law -- even if they may not have done anything wrong, but China feels they have.

With regards to Xue's situation, he was working for an American consulting company and introduced the company to an oil industry database he thought was commercially available. The company bought the information and Xue was detained.

For weeks American embassy officials were not allowed to see him, and when they were finally able to, he told them of being mistreated and abused in prison, showing them cigarette burn marks on his arms.

Once one is charged with anything regarding state secrets, the defendant is pretty much doomed and then it's a matter of how severe the sentence will be. For Xue, he served all but 10 months of his eight-year sentence for good behaviour.

Dui Hua Foundation's executive director John Kamm said, "Dui Hua is delighted that Dr Xue has finally been reunited with his family in America after a terrible ordeal. The foundation wishes him every success as he rebuilds his life."

The family also released a statement asking for privacy so that "they can begin the process of recovery from this unimaginably horrible experience of torture, incarceration for a crime that was not committed, and the unconscionable trauma associated with their forced separation that he and his family have suffered for seven and a half years".

How does one begin to heal from an ordeal like that?

How does one get back that time lost from loved ones?

We hope Xue will heal with time and love from his family.

This is a terrible tale of caution where those who are lured back to the motherland must think twice about returning, with the Chinese government becoming more stringent on foreign competition, and having the freedom to deem anything as "state secrets".

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