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China bars detained scholar from lawyer

Gao Zhan
Gao was arrested for "undermine state security". China says she has confessed  

BEIJING, China -- China has refused to allow detained academic Gao Zhan to meet her lawyer.

Gao, a permanent U.S. resident and an ethnic Chinese sociology researcher teaching at the American University in Washington, was arrested in China on spying charges.

She has been held incommunicado since she was separated from her husband Xue Donghua and son as they were about to leave Beijing on February 11.

But China's Ministry of State Security has repeatedly denied Gao's lawyer, Bai Xuebiao, access to his client, a U.S.-based human rights group said.

Husband's letter

In a bid to secure her release, her husband has written to U.S. President Bush asking for a meeting and urging him to use diplomatic pressure, the New York-based Human Rights in China said.

Xue said in the letter Gao had a heart problem and he was concerned about her health as well as the wellbeing of 5-year-old Andrew.

The United States has repeatedly urged China to free a number of academics it has been holding.

On Monday it urged China again to free Gao and three other academics, including two U.S. citizens, after an embassy official in Beijing visited one of them.

State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said the United States had raised the case of Gao, another permanent U.S. resident, Tan Guangguang, and the two U.S. citizens, Li Shaomin and Wu Jianmin, as recently as April 26.

Some analysts have said Beijing may suspect the academics of links to "The Tiananmen Papers," a book that claims to reveal debates that led to Beijing's 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests around Tiananmen Square in which many civilians were killed.

Reuters contributed to this report.

China detains another scholar: rights group
April 9, 2001
Second meeting between diplomats and U.S. detainees completed
April 6, 2001
Taiwan at center of scholar spying allegations
March 29, 2001
Detained Chinese scholar confesses to crimes: Beijing
March 23, 2001

Human Rights In China
Xue's letter to Bush
Chinese Foreign Ministry

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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