A Chinese postgraduate student who was captured in Iraq on suspicion of having links to the extremist militant group Islamic State had his name cleared and was freed by local police yesterday, the Chinese embassy in the country said.
Liu Tuo, who’d majored in archeology at Peking University, is now in good health and is set to return home soon, the embassy said.
According to Xinhua, the postgrad student had gone to Iraq on July 5 to visit historical sites and ‘was mistakenly thought as a terrorist’ by Iraqi volunteer forces.
He had been detained at a police station in Samarra, just north of Baghdad.
“I admire his courage; he is a professional traveller and had gone to a number of countries within one month last year. Liu said many relics were disappearing, and he got to visit them before they vanished,” an unidentified friend of the man said in Chinese media reports. He added that Liu had learned some basic Arabic ahead of the trip.
According to NetEase News, Liu’s account on Renren, a popular Chinese social media site similar to Facebook, is filled with pictures of relic sites from various places around the world.
Last summer, he’d travelled to seven countries in just 44 days and documented his trip online.
“He’s kind of nerdy,” his friend said. “The young guy is so bold, I hope he’s safe and sound”.
By Maggie Wong