American student released from central Chinese prison after secret State Department intervention

By Colin Fredericson

Guthrie McLean was held in a Chinese prison for a week before authorities agreed to let him go. The 25-year-old University of Montana student was arrested in central China after an altercation with a cab driver. His mother said the cabdriver was assaulting her over a fare dispute before her son stepped in to defend her.

The police came to find him five weeks later, and demanded $14,800 with threats of up to three years in prison if the family refused to pay. The family did not pay. Authorities detained him and then lowered the amount to $7,300, according to  Montana local TV station 8 KPAX. No formal charges were filed despite the demands.

The release required the intervention of U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, Sen. Jon Tester, and Rep. Greg Gianforte, all from Montana. They contacted both Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai and State Department head Rex Tillerson.

The State Department declined to talk about what role they played in McLean’s release.

Guthrie’s mother, Jennifer McLean, teaches in China. And Guthrie essentially grew up in China, according to a press release from Sen. Daines. He left China to attend college back in Montana, but returned to visit his mother.

After the cabdriver didn’t return the correct change, “There then was a bit of an argument and the taxi driver started to rough Jennifer up. So, she describes him pushing and shoving her, grabbing her bags; she was very scared. She was able to call Guthrie and he saw what was happening. He pulled the taxi driver off her, threw him to the ground, and end of story. Or so it seemed,” said Beijing-based journalist, and family friend Tom Mitchell.

Guthrie McLean is an East Asian studies major and works in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. He plans to return to school by next month.

 
 
 
RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

Fashion Illustration Series #2: Im Yoon-ah

Fashion Illustration Series #2: Im Yoon-ah
READ MORE >
 
 

Trump: McCain Returning Home to Arizona, Will Likely Miss Tax Vote

Trump: McCain Returning Home to Arizona, Will Likely Miss Tax Vote
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. John McCain is returning home to Arizona after being hospitalized for the side effects ...
READ MORE >
 

Putin Thanks Trump for CIA Tip-Off to Russia to Prevent Church Terrorist Attack

Putin Thanks Trump for CIA Tip-Off to Russia to Prevent Church Terrorist Attack
Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Donald Trump on Sunday to thank him for information that allowed Russia ...
READ MORE >
 

US Soldier Ambushed in Niger wasn’t Captured

US Soldier Ambushed in Niger wasn’t Captured
WASHINGTON—An American soldier killed in an ambush in Niger with three comrades but recovered days later wasn't captured ...
READ MORE >
 

Twin Suicide Bombers Attack Church in Pakistan’s Quetta Ahead of Christmas, Killing Eight

Twin Suicide Bombers Attack Church in Pakistan’s Quetta Ahead of Christmas, Killing Eight
QUETTA/ISLAMABAD—Two suicide bombers attacked a packed Methodist church in southwestern Pakistan on Sunday, killing at least eight people ...
READ MORE >
 

When lion lies down with the little lamb

When lion lies down with the little lamb
A starving young lion certainly managed to get his claws into a tasty little snack.  This intense video ...
READ MORE >