China releases detained U.S. professor

/ Source: The Associated Press

China has released a Chinese-born American university professor who was held for two weeks on espionage charges, the U.S. Embassy said Wednesday, adding to a string of such cases against academics with ties to the United States.

Fei-ling Wang was arrested July 25 in Shanghai and released Aug. 8, when he returned to the United States, where he teaches at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said an embassy spokeswoman. She said Wang was accused of stealing state secrets but she had no details of the charges or the status of his case.

Wang, a naturalized American citizen, told U.S. diplomats that he was held in solitary confinement for four days and deprived of sleep and water for “extended periods,” the spokeswoman said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Chinese authorities failed to notify U.S. officials of the detention until Aug. 4, a violation of a consular treaty requiring notification within four days, she said.

The U.S. government plans to lodge a formal protest with China over that delay and the “harsh and inappropriate treatment” given to Wang, the spokeswoman said.

Wang an associate professor at Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in Atlanta and received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, according to the Nunn School’s Web site.

He was reported missing by his wife after failing to return as planned on July 29 from a research trip to China, the U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said. She said U.S. diplomats asked Chinese officials whether they knew his whereabouts but received no reply.

The United States also plans to protest that failure to respond, the spokeswoman said.

In 2001, four Chinese-born academics who were either naturalized U.S. citizens or had U.S. residency were arrested in China on espionage charges. They were convicted and expelled from the country.

Those academics were accused of trying to obtain state secrets, but insisted they were only doing academic research.

Last month, China announced that it arrested a Chinese-born U.S. citizen, David Wei Dong, in September and planned to put him on trial soon on charges of spying on Chinese diplomatic activities in the United States for rival Taiwan.