Statement on the Release of Fang Fuming
Fang Fuming, an American citizen, has been given a 22-month sentence reduction and released from Beijing Number Two Prison. In accordance with the verdict, he has been deported to the United States. He left Beijing this afternoon, accompanied by an official of the United States Embassy. He will arrive in the United States in a few hours, where he will be rejoined with members of his family.
Fang Fuming, a 68-year-old business consultant specializing in the power industry, was placed under residential surveillance on February 28, 2000. He was formally detained on August 28, 2000 and arrested on September 11, 2000. He was subsequently tried by the Beijing Number One Intermediate Court for illegally obtaining state secrets and bribery. He was found guilty and sentenced on March 21, 2002 to five years in prison, followed by deportation. The verdict stipulated that the sentence was to run from August 28, 2000 to August 27, 2005.
It is believed that, at the time of his release, Fang Fuming was the only American citizen serving a sentence in a Chinese prison for an offense involving state secrets.
The warden of Beijing Number Two Prison has advised that Fang Fuming exhibited good behavior in prison. Because he expressed “sincere regret and willingness to reform,” the prison authorities, in accordance with Chinese regulations and prison procedures, applied to the Beijing Number Two Intermediate Court to grant Fang Fuming a 22-month sentence reduction. The court approved the application. A sentence reduction of this length is rarely granted for fixed term sentences of five years or less.
Over the last three years, Fang Fuming’s case has been raised on many occasions by senior American officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly (who emphasized Fang Fuming’s case in his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 11, 2003) and the American Ambassador to China Clark Randt. New Jersey congressmen Bill Pascrell, who represents Fang Fuming’s district in Congress, and Christopher Smith, a champion of human rights, have led efforts to mobilize support for Mr. Fang, and have written senior Chinese officials on many occasions requesting his release. They have raised Fang Fuming’s case with Chinese officials visiting the United States. Without the efforts of Congressmen Pascrell and Smith, as well as the entire New Jersey delegation to Congress, the result we are announcing today would not have been possible.
The Dui Hua Foundation is pleased to have played a role in securing this outcome. Fang Fuming’s release, coming one week after the meeting of Presidents Hu and Bush in Bangkok, is a positive development for the further strengthening of US-China relations. We wish Mr. Fang a joyful reunion with his family. They have worked tirelessly to bring him home.
The Dui Hua Foundation
October 27, 2003