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The BBC's Damian Grammaticas
"Dr Li is a US citizen who teaches business studies at Hong Kong's City University"
 real 28k

Mak Hoiwah, City University, Hong Kong
"The charges are too broad or too ambiguous"
 real 28k

Thursday, 17 May, 2001, 09:09 GMT 10:09 UK
Spy charge against US academic
Hong Kong skyline
Li was expected to return to Hong Kong the next day
China has formally charged a US scholar with spying for Taiwan, nearly three months after he was first detained, officials said.

He is the second academic with foreign ties to be charged with spying in the last two months.

US embassy officials in Beijing confirmed they had been notified two days ago about the charges against Professor Li Shaomin.

Li Shaomin
US citizen Li: Went 'to visit a friend'
"We are very concerned by this... We will press for him to be accorded due process and for his case to be brought to a fair and speedy conclusion resulting in his swift release," a spokesman said.

Mr Li's wife, Liu Yingli, also an academic, said that China's State Security Bureau had telephoned her on Tuesday informing her of the charges.

A professor in business studies at Hong Kong's City University, Mr Li is originally from China but has been a US citizen for the past six years.

China and the United States are already embroiled in a bitter row over the fate of Gao Zhan, a political science researcher at the American University in Washington DC, who was detained on a visit to Beijing in March.

Other detentions

According to Mr Li's wife, her husband crossed the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, a city in southern China, on 25 February to see a friend.

He was expected to return to Hong Kong the next day - but he never did.

Gao Zhan
President Bush has called for the release of Gao
At the time, the authorities refused to make any comment on why he had been detained or where he was being held.

US officials say they have tried to see him, but requests for visits by a UN consular official have been turned down by the Chinese.

China has detained at least five intellectuals with foreign ties, including Ms Gao, who has been detained for spying for unspecified overseas intelligence agencies.

Last month, about 400 leading scholars from around the world signed a petition to Chinese President Jiang Zemin protesting against China's detention of academics.

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See also:

18 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
China petitioned over academics
30 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
China arrests another US academic
22 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
China: US academic 'confesses'
21 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
US family detained in China
22 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
US and China agree to differ
22 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Tension in US-China talks
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