Monday, July 5, 2010

Obama's Call for Clemency: Denied

The Wall Street Journal reports that a Chinese court has sentenced  44-year-old Xue Fengan, an American geologist to eight years in prison "for trying to buy data about the Chinese oil industry." The court also added a fine of 200,000 yuan (about $29,850). The Journal notes Chinese security agents "initially denied Mr. Xue the right to contact the U.S. Embassy and his whereabouts were unknown for weeks, while his extended detention, quick trial and alleged actions were likewise cloaked in secrecy." He was detained in November 2007, formally arrested in April 2008 and tried in July 2009.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said Washington is reported to be "dismayed" at the news of the sentence. President Obama, himself, met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and asked that the Chinese government do something even the Obama administration has never done: grant clemency!

Xue obtained a doctorate in geology from the University of Chicago and lived in Texas, where he has a wife and two children, before returning to China. The Journal states, "The verdict's announcement over the U.S. holiday—a year after the conviction—appeared to be a calculated act of defiance."

 See full story here.

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