U.S. lawmakers are urging the Chinese government to release Mark Swidan, an American who has been jailed in China for over a decade.
On Feb. 1, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a resolution calling for the release of Swidan, a Houston resident who has spent the last 10 years in a Chinese prison after his purported erroneous arrest in 2012. The resolution is cosponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and U.S. Representative Michael Cloud (R, TX-27).
Swidan was 38 years old in 2012 when he went to China on a business trip to purchase construction materials. Chinese authorities arrested him on Nov. 13, 2012, over drug trafficking allegations and detained him throughout his trial. Records later revealed, however, that Swidan was not in China when the alleged crime happened.
Swidan was sentenced to death in 2019 and is currently awaiting the results of his appeal.
Sen. Cruz said in a press release:
Swidan's mother, Katherine Swidan, who has not been able to speak with him since 2018, shared that her son has lost over 100 pounds since he was detained, claiming that his health is now deteriorating.
"I was on the phone with him and I heard banging," Katherine told Fox 26. "He said, 'Hold on mom there's someone at the door'. It was Chinese police. They said they wanted to check his phone. I was just a crazy person trying to find him."
Katherine also accused the Chinese authorities of torturing her son to force him to confess.
"Whatever they do to him, he will not ever confess to something he did not do," she added.
Katherine hoped that her son would be discussed during the planned meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang.
The meeting was postponed on Friday after a suspected Chinese spy balloon was discovered hovering within the United States' air space.