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Chinese-Born U.S. Geologist Xue Feng Released 10 Months Early

Xue FengOn April 3, 2015, Xue Feng was released from Beijing’s No. 2 prison and deported to the United States, where he has been reunited with his wife and children in Houston. He spent more than seven years in jail for allegedly “gathering information” and “illegally sending state secrets abroad.” Originally sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment and a fine, to be followed by immediate exile from China, Dr. Xue was released 10 months early, reportedly for good behavior.

Dr. Xue is a 50-year-old geologist, who pursued his graduate studies at the University of Chicago and subsequently became a naturalized U.S. citizen. In 2005, while working for IHS Energy, a U.S. energy consulting company, Dr. Xue arranged for the company’s purchase of a database concerning the location of and other geological information about 32,000 Chinese oil wells. In November 2007, while on a business trip to China, he was detained. More than 1-1/2 years later, in proceedings that failed to meet international fair trial standards, he was convicted of passing on state secrets for arranging the acquisition of the database. According to Dr. Xue’s lawyers, the information in the database was in the public domain at the time IHS purchased it and was retroactively classified as a state secret by the Chinese government many months after his detention. Following Dr. Xue’s conviction, IHS Energy confirmed that it had never been informed of any wrongdoing by the Chinese government and had never been asked by Chinese authorities to remove any of the information obtained from Dr. Xue from its public materials concerning China. The CHR wrote several letters to the Chinese government appealing for Dr. Xue’s release from prison and is delighted at the recent news.