Man who became bargaining chip in US-China talks finally home after 4 long years

This article is over 4 months old Relations between China and the US haven’t always been cheery, with the US accusing Beijing of theft of intellectual property and restricting foreign access to its markets…

Man who became bargaining chip in US-China talks finally home after 4 long years

This article is over 4 months old

Relations between China and the US haven’t always been cheery, with the US accusing Beijing of theft of intellectual property and restricting foreign access to its markets

Man who became bargaining chip in US-China talks finally home after 4 long years

A US businessman who claims to have become the bargaining chip in the bitter relationship between the US and China has finally arrived home, almost five years after he was arrested in China.

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Peter Xie was charged with multiple counts of bribery and violating anti-bribery laws, said his wife, Judy. He appeared in court on Friday, according to her lawyer, though the outcome of his trial was unclear.

“In the same way that Mr Xie has finally reached the end of this long road that has kept him unjustly imprisoned for a large part of his life, so too has he been brutally and wrongly accused by the Chinese government,” she said in a statement.

“As our family feels, and I hope everyone can see, this case could easily have been brought to an innocent verdict, but with the strong pressure Mr Xie’s case has brought to bear on President Trump and the US, his name has appeared on the negotiating table.”

Her family has said that Xie, who was China’s most wanted foreign businessman, fell into Beijing’s sights after media coverage of his alleged misdeeds.

According to media reports, an investment company owned by Xie was indicted in the US on 23 May 2017 over bribery, corruption and securities and futures fraud.

He was detained soon after as a result of the investigation.

In March, the US Department of Justice charged him with allegations of bribery, racketeering, wire fraud and computer hacking.

At the time, Xie was sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to bribe a top regulator.

While serving his sentence, Xie was transferred to a detention centre in Hangzhou, where he was denied visits, media reports said. His wife had repeatedly pleaded for him to be transferred to the US.

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Calls from family members and friends throughout the years to take action for his release from detention also had drawn attention from the US state department, Xie’s wife said.

“President Trump learned that my husband had been behind bars for almost four years after getting an international campaign launched on his behalf, by friends and family, from former President Bill Clinton to Julian Assange,” she said in the statement.

The human rights lawyer told local media in June that Xie had been sentenced to a decade in prison. His whereabouts at the time was unclear.

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