Reps. Lofgren, Honda and Eshoo Urge President Bush to Seek Release of Jude Shao During Meeting with
Media Contact: Heather Wong, 202.225.3072
Washington, D.C. – In light of upcoming meetings in November with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D- San Jose), Mike Honda (D- San Jose) and Anna Eshoo (D- Palo Alto), today sent the following letter to President Bush urging assistance in obtaining the release of Jude Shao. Shao is an American citizen who has been imprisoned for the past six years in China, without a fair trial or the ability to present evidence that could exonerate him.
Free trade in China is more than simply eliminating tariffs, value-added taxes and manipulation of currency; it entails a safe environment for US citizens and other foreign businessmen and women to do business in China free of bribery and imprisonment without due process. Reps. Lofgren, Honda and Eshoo hope that China, as a new member of the World Trade Organization, will show commitment to free trade by requiring due process and justice in the case of Jude Shao.
The following is the text of the letter:
November 9, 2004
President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to request your assistance with the case of Jude Shao, an American Citizen who has been imprisoned in China for over six years. We respectfully request that you raise Mr. Shao’s case with Chinese President Hu Jintao during the Asia Pacific Economic (APEC) conference in November and urge the President to do what he can to ensure Mr. Shao’s safety, health, and release from prison.
We have been informed that just after his graduation from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1993 Mr. Shao started a company to export American medical equipment to China. In July of 1997, we were told that Mr. Shao refused a solicitation for a bribe by a Shanghai Tax Auditor, which started a chain of events that led to Mr. Shao’s arrest in April of 1998. It is our understanding that Mr. Shao was held incommunicado without an opportunity to prepare for trial for a total of 26 months before he was finally sentenced to 16 years in prison for tax evasion. We have attached a commentary from the Wall Street Journal that explains the alleged abuses of Chinese law that took place during Mr. Shao’s case.
We have been told that friends of Mr. Shao were able to recover Mr. Shao’s business records in the United States and identify errors that may seriously call into question the veracity of the case against him. Mr. Shao’s friends tell us this evidence was reviewed by six prominent Chinese legal scholars at the Center for Research in Criminal Legal Science at National People’s University, including former law professors, members of the Supreme People’s Court and members of the Supreme People’s Procurator. We were informed that these scholars each concluded that the case needs to be retried. Still, Mr. Shao has received no response to six petitions to present exculpatory evidence to the Shanghai High Court and the Supreme People’s Court.
Six years of imprisonment is taking a toll on Mr. Shao’s health. We have been informed that Mr. Shao’s family has filed an application for medical parole to help with a heart ailment that prison doctors are unable to treat. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing filed a diplomatic note in support of this application, but there has been no response from the Chinese government. It appears that nine more years of a 16-year sentence will be detrimental to Mr. Shao.
We urge you to raise Mr. Shao’s case in your November meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and advocate for his release. Mr. Shao should be given an opportunity for a fair trial to present evidence that could exculpate him and lead to his release from prison. In the immediate, Mr. Shao should be granted medical parole to ensure that his heart condition is properly treated.
ZOE LOFGREN, Member of Congress
ANNA ESHOO, Member of Congress
MICHAEL HONDA, Member of Congress
cc: Secretary of State Colin Powell