Wu promises not to give up the fight

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The Independent Online
HARRY WU, the human rights campaigner freed by the Chinese government on Thursday after two months in prison, said the police at Shanghai airport robbed him of $1000 (pounds 625) before putting him on a plane home to San Francisco.

Immediately upon arriving at his California home, 30 miles south of San Francisco, Mr Wu, a naturalised American citizen, wrote a letter to the Chinese government complaining about the missing money. But if the Chinese authorities were dishonest with him, he was also dishonest with them, as he acknowledged in an interview published in yesterday's New York Times.

"I said if they released me I would stay away from politics and have a good life with my wife," said Mr Wu, who was freed last week by the very same judge who sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

Mr Wu spent 19 years in Chinese labour camps before emigrating to the US in 1985, and has dedicated the last 10 years to publicising human rights abuses in China. He said he had every intention of continuing his work.

During his captivity Mr Wu said he reached a point where he had reconciled himself to the idea of death, execution being the standard punishment for charges of spying. If he got off as lightly as he did, the indications are that he owes much to American diplomacy in general and Hillary Clinton in particular.

He had not been home 24 hours when the White House announced that the First Lady would be attending the United Nations World Conference on Women in Peking next month. Until Mr Wu's release there had been great uncertainty as to whether she would go.

If the White House has engaged in a Mrs Clinton-for-a-hostage exchange deal, Mr Wu will not be a happy man. "She had to judge by herself to go or not to go," he said. "But if my release is part of a deal, I will be angry about it."