Man thanks Chi­nese jail­ers for mak­ing him ‘strong’

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

A U.S. ge­ol­o­gist who spent more than seven years in a Chi­nese pri­son thanked his jail­ers for mak­ing him and his fam­ily stronger, in a state­ment quot­ing U.S. civil rights cham­pion Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rus­sian nov­el­ist Fy­o­dor Dos­to­evsky.

Feng Xue, who was con­victed on state se­crets charges, was im­me­di­ately de­ported upon leav­ing jail in Bei­jing last week, the U.S.-based Dui Hua Foun­da­tion said in a state­ment.

In an emo­tional let­ter re­flect­ing on his or­deal and posted on­line by his Ph.D. ad­vi­sor David Rowley, Xue wrote: “I am start­ing a new chap­ter of my life, dur­ing which I shall make my­self wor­thy of what I have gone through.

“I should also thank those peo­ple who plunged my fam­ily and me into this agony.

“The an­guish made us stronger as a fam­ily, gave us an op­por­tu­nity to prove and fur­ther build our char­ac­ter, and of­fered us a chance to shed old bag­gage and start a new chap­ter of our lives.”

Xue re­turned to the U.S. city of Hous­ton and was re­united with his fam­ily on Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to Dui Hua, which ad­vo­cates for cle­mency and bet­ter treat­ment for pris­on­ers in China.

As he stepped from the air­plane onto U.S. soil, he wrote, “I re­cited Fy­o­dor Dos­to­evsky with tears welling up in my eyes: ‘There is only one thing I dread: not to be wor­thy of my suf­fer­ings’.”

He added: “Ev­ery sin­gle cell in my oth­er­wise aching body is singing ‘Free at last, free at last’.”

Some Chi­nese of­fi­cials tried but failed to prove him in­no­cent or se­cure his ear­lier re­lease, Xue said. “They taught me that the beauty of hu­man­ity can be found any­where.”

Xue — whose let­ter was headed us­ing West­ern name or­der — asked for pri­vacy as he and his fam­ily begin “the process of re­cov­ery from this ag­o­niz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

A Chi­nese-born U.S. cit­i­zen, Xue was first de­tained in Novem­ber 2007 over the sale of a data­base on China’s oil in­dus­try while work­ing for U.S. en­ergy and en­gi­neer­ing con­sult­ing firm IHS.

In Fe­bru­ary 2011, a Bei­jing court up­held his 2010 con­vic­tion and eight-year sen­tence. The fol­low­ing year he was given a 10-month re­duc­tion for good be­hav­ior, Dui Hua said.

Xue’s ar­rest and other cases have cast a spot­light on the dan­gers of do­ing busi­ness in China, es­pe­cially for those born in China who take on a for­eign na­tion­al­ity.

Aus­tralian na­tional Stern Hu, an ex­ec­u­tive with the min­ing gi­ant Rio Tinto, was sen­tenced to 10 years in pri­son in 2010 on bribery and trade se­crets charges, in a case se­verely crit­i­cized by Can­berra.

Wash­ing­ton re­peat­edly raised con­cerns over whether Xue’s rights were be­ing pro­tected and whether he had ac­cess to a fair trial.

Rights ac­tivists say China rou­tinely abuses its state se­crets laws, of­ten as a means of si­lenc­ing gov­ern­ment crit­ics.

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