For over a year and a half, Chinese-American Hu Zhicheng was jailed in China while police investigated allegations from a business rival that he had stolen state secrets. During that time, according to Hu and his family, he was allowed no contact with his wife or children apart from an occasional letter. Now, even though the charges have been dropped, Hu still can’t leave China.
Victoria never doubted her father’s innocence. He was an award-winning scientist with nearly 50 patents to his name; she knew he didn’t need to steal anybody else’s research.
The Chinese eventually found the same. In April 2010, a Chinese court approved prosecutors’ request to withdraw the case against Hu because of a lack of evidence. Hu was released, and made arrangements to leave the country. But when he got to the airport, he learned that as soon as the criminal case was dropped his accuser had filed a patent infringement lawsuit. The government wouldn’t let him depart until that was resolved.
As months turned into years, Hu’s wife frantically called the U.S. Embassy in China and wrote letters to her two senators, her congressman and the White House.
Last month in Shanghai, the 50-year-old Hu spoke with The Associated Press about his case. He said he believes he is being pressured to make a financial settlement with his well-connected business rival.
“We still haven’t heard anything from the court,” he said, adding that under Chinese law the deadline to bring the lawsuit to trial or dismiss it should have passed months ago. Calls by the AP to the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court, which has delayed ruling on Hu’s case but kept the travel restrictions in place, rang unanswered earlier this month.