Song Yongyi Update | China Frees Scholar Who Worke

Step Schmitt writes \"The NYTimes story on the freed librarian is here.

\"A United States-based scholar detained in China for more than five months on vague charges of \"providing confidential materials to foreigners\" was released today. \"
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The scholar, Song Yongyi, a research librarian at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., was detained in August while collecting documents concerning the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution. Such materials are widely available in markets and curio shops.

He was formally charged last month with \"the purchase and illegal provision of intelligence to foreigners,\" a move that alarmed academics overseas, who saw a threat to research activities in China, and American politicians as well. Together, the two groups waged a vigorous campaign to gain the release of Mr. Song, a Chinese citizen who had been scheduled to become an American citizen weeks after he was detained.

At 9 p.m. on Friday, Mr. Song, still in a Beijing police office, used his brother\'s cellular telephone to call his wife in Pennsylvania to say that he was being freed.

\"I was so excited, but it was so strange I couldn\'t believe it,\" said his wife, Helen Yao. She said she had been given no reason for the release of Mr. Song, who was expected to arrive in the United States today.\"

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