Pitt researcher’s wife released from labor camp in China

The Associated Press, May 7, 2003

PITTSBURGH – A University of Pittsburgh researcher said his wife, a member of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, has been released from a forced labor camp in China.

Cailu Xu said that over the weekend he spoke to his wife, Xiaomei Jai, for the first time in 18 months.

Xu, also a practitioner of Falun Gong, fled his native country after his wife was arrested in November 2001. He left China last summer to attend an academic conference in Boston and has not returned.

Xu and his wife, Xiaomei Jia, 41, began practicing Falun Gong in Beijing in 1996.

China banned the group in 1999 as a threat to public safety and communist rule. Former President Jiang Zemin called the movement, which has attracted millions of followers with a mix of slow-motion exercise and doctrines drawn from Buddhism and Taoism, an “evil cult.”

Xu said he hopes authorities in China issue his wife a passport and visa so that she can travel to Pittsburgh, where he is a research associate with the University of Pittsburgh’s mechanical engineering department.

Yet Communist Party officials told his wife that they will be monitoring her activities to make sure she does not practice Falun Gong, Xu said.

Xu had lobbied lawmakers from Pennsylvania to help him get his wife out of prison. He credited U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle with securing her release with a letter.

Amnesty International also penned letters to the Chinese Embassy seeking Xiaomei Jia’s release.

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