Hu Zhicheng is a naturalized American citizen who attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and wanted to bring his engineering knowledge to China’s growing automotive industry. Specifically, Zhicheng wanted to design catalytic converters, which would help the automobiles create less pollution. Unfortunately, Zhicheng’s efforts in China got him jailed, and currently unable to leave the country for reasons unknown to him.
In 2008, he was jailed for a year and half based on a claim of commercial theft. At the time he was president of Wuxi Weifu Environmental Catalysts and refused to buy components from the Hysci Specialty Materials Company. Hysci’s CEO did not take well to the refusal and was willing to do anything to make the deal go through. The police even told Zhicheng that all charges of stolen trade secrets would be dropped if he did business with Hysci. Zhicheng did not give in to the pressure and was jailed; however, eventually the case was dropped because the prosecutors believed the claims had no merit.
Although he was released from jail, he has been denied the ability to leave the country to go back to his family in Los Angeles. There are no valid reasons for why he has not been able to leave the country, and therefore it is a difficult situation to remedy. Zhicheng has done everything he can to try and get out of the country such as seeking help from American diplomats in Beijing, having his daughter petition for his release, and seeking legal help.
This has been a terrifying experience for his family who has not seen him. His wife and son are too scared to visit him for fear that they will be unable to leave China as well. His wife is worried that he will never return to Los Angeles and his children will have to grow up without a father.
What could Hu Zhicheng do to get out of the country? Is there anything further that America can do to force his release? Should Hysci be questioned on the issue?
Source: The New York Times