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WASHINGTON, April 3, 2001 - The husband of a U.S.-based Chinese scholar detained since February in Beijing said Tuesday he was shocked and saddened at news that she has been formally arrested on charges of spying and called again for her release. Xue Donghua, who was detained in Beijing along with his wife Gao Zhan and their five-year-old son Feb. 11, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) he would seek to expedite the Senate process granting his wife U.S. citizenship in absentia. Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia is expected to introduce legislation this week aimed at making Gao a U.S. citizen. "I was very shocked by the news and very saddened," Xue said in an interview, noting that Chinese officials had previously said only that they detained Gao pending an investigation. "It's only been two days since the midair collision" of a Chinese jet fighter and U.S. naval reconnaissance plane, he said, "and now she has been formally arrested. I don't think this is a pure coincidence." "She is only a scholar at American University and also the mother of a five-year-old-she never did and never would engage in spying activities," Xue told RFA. Earlier Tuesday, two officials from the Jiangsu public security office visited Gao's parents in Nanjing to inform them that the Beijing Public Security Bureau had formally arrested Gao for allegedly accepting money from foreign intelligence agencies and for intelligence-gathering, the U.S.-based watchdog Human Rights in China reported. The Jiangsu officials said they were informing Gao's parents of her arrest at the request of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, Human Rights in China said. "I call upon the U.S. and Chinese governments, do not make a sacrifice out of my wife for political reasons. I call on the Chinese government, do not make my wife a bargaining chip on the negotiating table. I call on the Chinese government to release her immediately based on humanitarian principles so she and her family can reunite," Xue said. Xue himself was sworn in Friday as a U.S. citizen. He and Gao are permanent U.S. residents who had completed all the prerequisites for citizenship before they visited China for the Lunar New Year. Xue, Gao, and their son Andrew, a U.S. citizen, were detained Feb. 11 as they tried to leave Beijing. They were held separately for 26 days, after which father and son were permitted to return home to the United States. Radio Free Asia (RFA) is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting news and information to listeners in Asia where full, accurate, and timely news reports are unavailable. Created by Congress in 1996, RFA aims to deliver such news reports - along with opinions and commentaries - and to provide a forum for a variety of voices and opinions. RFA currently broadcasts to Burma, Cambodia, China, Laos, Vietnam, North Korea, and the Chinese autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Tibet. It adheres to the highest journalistic standards and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content.


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