[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Chinese court imprisons US citizen
Geologist Xue Feng, detained in 2007 for "betraying state secrets", loses appeal to get eight-year jail term overturned.
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2011 05:26 GMT
Feng's case has highlighted the risks of doing business in China for those holding foreign nationalities [GALLO/GETTY]

A court in Beijing has upheld the conviction of an American geologist on the charge of betraying state secrets.

Xue Feng was arrested in November 2007, and tried to appeal against a conviction that resulted in an eight-year prison sentence handed down in July last year.

Jon Huntsman, the US ambassador, attended the hearing on Friday, and urged the Chinese government to release Xue.

"We ask the Chinese government to consider an immediate humanitarian  release of Xue Feng," he said.

"I am extremely disappointed in the outcome when you consider that the charges are very questionable."

Xue, a Chinese-born US citizen working for a private firm, was first detained over the sale of a database on China's oil industry.

US concerns

At the time of Xue's arrest, he was working for IHS Inc., a US energy and engineering consulting firm . Both Xue and IHS have said they believed the database to be a commercially available product.

According to the Dui Hua Foundation, a rights group, it was only classified as a state secret after Xue had  bought it.

The US has repeatedly raised concerns over whether Xue's rights were being  protected and whether he had access to a fair trial.

The embassy previously said that the case was not handled with the "transparency that would befit a nation which tells us that the rule of law is paramount in all judicial processes".

Barack Obama, the US president, has personally raised Xue's case with  Hu Jintao, his Chinese counterpart.

Xue's arrest and other cases have cast a spotlight on the dangers of doing business in China, especially for those born in China but who have been educated abroad and taken a foreign nationality.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.