Academic Freedom
Chinese Academics Detained:

Detained Scholars

Dr. Gao Zhan

Dr. Gao Zhan, released

Dr. Gao Zhan was born in Nanjing, China. She received an M.A. in Chinese literature from Nanjing University in 1987 and a Ph.D. in sociology from Syracuse University in 1997. Her doctoral thesis studied "The Sojourning Life as Problematic: Marital Crises of Chinese Students Who Are Studying in the U.S.A." An unpaid researcher at American University, in Washington, D.C., Gao's research interests have included marriage, family, and women in China, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora. She is the author of two recent articles published in The Journal of Chinese Political Studies, "Male Sphere Invaded: Taiwan Women's Political Participation," and "New Life Vs. Old Value System: Marital Crises of Chinese Students Sojourning in the United States." Ms. Gao is a Chinese citizen with a U.S. green card. She is the mother of a five-year-old son who is an American citizen.

On March 27, 2001 Dr. Gao Zhan was formally charged with spying.

On July 24, Dr. Gao Zhan was convicted in a closed trial on charges of collecting intelligence for Taiwan and sentenced to ten years in prison. She was allowed to leave China on July 26, ahead of a scheduled trip to China by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on July 28.

Dr. Li Shaomin

Dr. Li Shaomin, released

Dr. Li Shaomin is an Associate Professor at the Department of Marketing, City University of Hong Kong. Li graduated from Peking University in Economics (1982) and obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University in Sociology (1988). His professional experience extends from academic to business. From 1989 to 1990 he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard University Fairbank Center for East Asian Research. In 1993 he was a United Nations advisor to China on the business applications of demographic data. He has also taught at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Peking University, and the AT&T School of Business. Before joining the City University of Hong Kong in 1996, he was a Director of AT&T EastGate Services. Li has been invited to give seminars on China, strategy, and international business at leading institutions, such as Harvard University, Columbia University, Princeton University, the State Statistical Bureau of China, the American Enterprise Institute, and the National University of Taiwan. He also serves as a member of the editorial board for Modern China Studies (Princeton, NJ) and Market and Demographic Analysis (Beijing, China). He has been a consultant to major global companies including Fidelity Investments, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, and AIG. Li's publications include nine books and many articles in journals, including the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of International Marketing, Orbis, Journal of Mathematical Sociology, Demography, Population Research and Policy Review, and Journal of Gerontology. He co-authored the China Markets Yearbook and China's Reform and Business Management, major tomes of the past three years. The latter was issued in Hong Kong in Chinese and republished by Peking University Press. His main research interests are strategic management, political economy, international business, and the internet and e-commerce.

On May 16, 2001 Dr. Li Shaomin Zhan was formally charged with spying.

On July 14, 2001 after a trial Dr. Shaomin was convicted in Beijing on "espionage" charges. Li was allowed to leave China on July 25. Read HRW's statement here.

Dr. Xu Zerong

Dr. Xu Zerong, detained days

Xu Zerong (a.k.a. David Tsui) was born and brought up in Guangzhou to a father who was a senior cultural officer of the People's Liberation Army and an overseas Chinese mother who was a senior official at Zhongshan University prior to the Cultural Revolution. A 1982 graduate of Fudan University in international politics, he moved to Hong Kong in 1985. Following study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Harvard University, he earned an M. Phil from Oxford University in 1990 with a thesis on China's intervention in the Korean War, which he developed into a Ph.D. in 1999. Returning to China, he took up positions at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences and Zhongshan University where he became a Research Associate Professor in the Southeast Asia Institute. He played a leading role in The Chinese Social Sciences Quarterly, a Chinese language academic journal based in Hong Kong and set up by Xu and others in the mid-1990s. He is also a founder of the Asian Society for Strategic Studies in Hong Kong.

Xu is well known for his work on the role of the PLA in the Korean War, the subject of his doctoral research at Oxford, and for an article on the Chinese Communist Party's support for the Communist movement in the Malay peninsula. His doctoral thesis, forthcoming from a major international publisher, sheds new light on the PLA's intervention in the Korean War and the Mao-Stalin relationship, including critical Soviet military aid to the CCP during the Chinese Civil War (1946-9).

He was sentenced in January 2002 to a thirteen-year prison term.


Letter to Jiang Zemin

Leading Academics Protest Detentions
HRW Press Release

Other Petitions and Letters

Biographies of the Detained Scholars

Press Conference Co-sponsors

Press Conference Speakers

HRW Academic Freedom Program

China: Human Rights Deteriorate
HRW Special Focus