Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes the news of the release of Dr. Gao Zhan, a U.S.-based scholar, who was granted medical parole on Thursday. Dr. Gao will arrive in Washington D.C. today at 4 pm.
"This is an example of China's hostage strategy. Secretary of State Colin Powell is on his way to Beijing and the PRC uses the imprisonment of dissidents and now scholars as political bargaining chips," said Xiao Qiang, executive director of HRIC.
HRIC believes that Dr. Gao's detention and conviction reflects the fundamental flaws inherent in Chinese state security laws. "In order to avoid making arbitrary arrests and detentions, Chinese authorities must clarify what are classified as state secrets. Governments have a responsibility to ensure a level of transparency for their citizens," Xiao added. At least three others, Zhang Shanguang, Li Hai and Teng Chunyan are serving prison terms on the same conviction.
Dr. Gao, a noted sociologist and adjunct professor at American University in Washington D.C., was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment on spying charges on July 24. She was convicted for passing internal (neibu) documents for research purposes to Li Shaomin, a naturalized U.S. citizen and a professor of marketing at City University in Hong Kong. Li was also convicted and released on espionage charges earlier this month.
Dr. Gao and her husband Xue Donghua will be available for comments at a press conference to be held on a later date.