We just came across a report about foreign inmates in a Shanghai prison taking the HSK test, commonly known as the Chinese TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Many of Shanghai’s foreign prisoners are kept in Qingpu, which has now become the first prison in Shanghai, and probably China, where the foreign inmates are allowed to take Chinese classes and then participate in the test. This time around, the inmates that took the test hailed from countries such as Australia, Korea and Singapore.
We don’t know who the most famous or most notorious foreign inmate at Qingpu is, but we know that Jude Shao might be the only with his own website — “Free Jude Shao” — and that he doesn’t need to take the HSK because he’s from China. Shao became a naturalized US citizen in the 1990s and was in the China-US medical equipment export business. He was convicted of tax fraud and evasion and was arrested in May 1998 and had now served half of his sixteen year term. However, many believe that Shao was wrongly convicted and imprisoned on trumped up charges.
The “Free Jude Shao ” website describes how it began:
In June 1999, a trial was held in Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate Court, but Jude was unable to prepare a meaningful defense because he was never able to meet with his attorney, who was only hired 10 days prior to the start of the trial. Neither Jude nor his attorney was able to review the evidence against him. In March 2000, the Court issued a ruling convicting Jude of two tax crimes and sentencing him to 16 years in jail.
In 2003, six prominent legal experts said that the evidence in the Jude Shao case was not strong enough to merit a conviction and that he therefore deserved a retrial. Jude Shao also claims to have evidence from his San Francisco office that exonerates him. It also seems that he might eligible for medical parole, yet so far, all his appeals have been ignored.
Jude went to Stanford Business School, so we’ll assume he’s a Californian, which is why Senator Dianne Feinstein of CA wrote a letter to President George W. Bush regarding Shao’s case back in April, urging him to bring up the matter when he met up with President Hu Jintao.
For more information, try searching Shao’s Chinese name: 邵裘德.
Photo from news.163.com.