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Stanford Report, April 5, 2000

Scholar Hua Di's conviction overturned on appeal in China


Stanford scholar Hua Di, who was sentenced late last year to 15 years in a Chinese prison, has had his conviction overturned on an appeal to the Beijing Higher People's Court. He had been accused of "leaking state secrets."

Stanford University President Gerhard Casper said April 4 that "we learned several days ago that the Beijing higher-level court has decided to return Hua Di's case to the lower courts for retrial, and we are pleased with this latest development."

Casper added that "several of our faculty continue to make quiet representations on Mr. Hua's behalf, and the Chinese response has been that the case is now in a 'delicate phase.' In the meantime, we continue to be concerned about the state of Mr. Hua's health and are hopeful that he is receiving appropriate medical attention."

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Hua, a research associate at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, is a Chinese citizen with permanent U.S. residency. He has been imprisoned for 27 months since his January 1998 arrest on a visit to China. He had been undergoing treatment for breast cancer at Stanford before his arrest.

Song Yongyi, a librarian at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, who was imprisoned in a cell next to Hua's before the Chinese released him, said during a recent visit to Stanford that other prisoners in the same detention facility had told him Hua's health was not good. He said also that he believed Hua's conviction did not agree with China's written criminal procedure laws.

"Basically the court agreed with one of the grounds on which Hua Di appealed, which was that the evidence used to convict him was insufficient or inadequate, or what the court calls unclear," said Professor Emeritus John Lewis, who worked closely with Hua.

Stanford colleagues have been trying to get Hua medical attention and have made sure the family in China has his medical records. Former Provost Condoleezza Rice and Lewis have said that Hua's publications were based on publicly available documents. SR