GAO ZHAN TALKS FIRST TO RADIO FREE ASIA


2001-07-25
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WASHINGTON, July 26, 2001 - U.S. - based Chinese scholar Gao Zhan, arriving home Thursday after five months in detention in China, said Chinese authorities had treated her "fairly well" while she was held and tried there on spying charges. "I am very happy," said Gao, based at American University here. "The worst thing about my detention was that I missed my husband and son, Andrew." Radio Free Asia (RFA) was the first news organization to interview Gao upon her return. "I was treated fairly well." Gao spoke to RFA minutes after she stepped off a Northwest Airlines flight in Detroit, Michigan. Her husband, Xue Donghua, told RFA his wife was "not supposed to tell details (about her imprisonment) because she has been threatened." Gao Zhan said she was "very, very grateful to RFA," which broadcast to China details of her detention and efforts to secure her release. Xue said he was very excited to see his wife return after months of effort. "It finally bore fruit. It was an international rescue. It was a multi-layered, international rescue effort. I am elated." "I think it was a wise decision for the Chinese government to release Gao Zhan. Detaining Gao Zhan put a very big dent in U.S.-China relations," he said. Gao had been imprisoned for five months and was convicted of spying for Taiwan earlier this week. She was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment but was released today for what Chinese authorities described as medical reasons. Her release came a day after Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed her detention with the Chinese foreign minister alongside a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers in Hanoi. Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting news and information to those countries 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 in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan, and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest journalistic standards and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content.

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