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Arrested Chinese graduate student says: 'I'm no terrorist'

[ 2010-05-25 10:35]     字号 [] [] []  
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"I will never believe that my son was a terrorist," said Zhai Taishan, who flew to Beijing from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on Monday night trying to seek help for his son, who is accused of being a terrorist in the United States. They are seeking help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Zhai's son, Zhai Tiantian, was a Chinese graduate student at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, before he was arrested by police on April 16. He was accused of trying to set fire to a campus building and of making threats to one of his professors with whom he had a disagreement.

Zhai Tiantian is being held in the Hudson County jail in New York State.

Zhai, 27, was born in Xi'an and went to study in the US in 2003.

Zhai Tiantian's mother, Wang Xiaojun, said she received a phone call at her home in Xi'an from her son's schoolmate early on May 10, who told her that her son was in jail.

On April 15, Zhai Tiantian had a verbal dispute with his professor, whose name has not yet been identified, over his academic work, but no physical altercation took place, according to a female Taiwanese schoolmate, surnamed Wang. The professor thought that Zhai said some threatening things to him and he reported Zhai to the school's authorities, saying that Zhai posed a potential threat to the institute.

The US China Press reported on May 20 that Zhai Tiantian said something about getting revenge against his professor, and the professor later called the campus police. They arrested Zhai Tiantian and turned him over to the New Jersey police. Zhai is currently being held in jail and is unable to raise the $20,000 bail.

According to the indictment, Zhai Tiantian is facing the charge of "terrorism". The police also alleged that he was attempting to set fire to the campus. However, Zhai Tiantian denied that he had any plans to commit arson and that he had ever mentioned such an idea to anyone.

On the day of the incident, Stevens Institute of Technology immediately canceled Zhai's student visa. The following day, the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) ordered his arrest. On the third day, INS issued a deportation order.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Arrested Chinese graduate student says: 'I'm no terrorist'

About the broadcaster:

Arrested Chinese graduate student says: 'I'm no terrorist'

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.