- The Washington Times - Friday, October 18, 2002

China custody dispute said to be resolved

ZHENGZHOU, China An American woman checked out of a hotel in central China with her 5-year-old son last night, saying she had resolved a custody standoff with her Chinese ex-husband after they spent nine days sequestered in a suite conducting delicate negotiations.

The case, which drew the attention of upper-level Chinese and American officials, had threatened to become a diplomatic dilemma less than a week before Chinese President Jiang Zemin travels to the United States.

Camille Colvin, 35, of New York City, left the Zhengzhou Sofitel in a taxi with her son, Griffin, her brother and three private security guards.

Mrs. Colvin's ex-husband, Guo Rui, took the boy during a visitation in the United States in July, maintaining that his son, a Chinese-born U.S. citizen, should be governed by Chinese law.

After Mrs. Colvin and Griffin left, Mr. Gao acknowledged taking the child but said it wasn't an abduction.

Imprisoned Tibetan nun freed nine years early

BEIJING A Tibetan nun imprisoned by Chinese authorities since her midteens for her political activities was freed yesterday on good behavior nine years early, a leading human rights activist said a release that comes days before China's leader visits the United States.

It was at least the seventh release of a Tibetan political prisoner since January.

Ngawang Sangdrol, a nun who is either 24 or 25, was released from Tibet Autonomous Region Prison No. 1 and reunited with her family, said John Kamm, president of the Duihua Foundation, a human rights organization based in San Francisco.

"She is believed to be China's longest-serving female prisoner convicted of counterrevolution.

Japan kidnap victims head to hometowns

KASHIWAZAKI, Japan After two days in Tokyo getting reacquainted with their families, five Japanese kidnapped by North Korean spies were reunited in their hometowns yesterday with classmates and friends for the first time in nearly a quarter-century.

The return of the five, the only known survivors of at least 13 Japanese abducted by the North in the late 1970s and 1980s, has been the most emotional homecoming in Japan since World War II.

Kaoru Hasuike and his wife, Yukiko Okudo, who was abducted with him in 1978, made only brief comments and took no questions before leaving the news conference.

Two other victims, Yasushi Chimura and his wife, Fukie Hamamoto, returned to Obama, a small town on the central Japanese coast. Hitomi Soga, the fifth kidnapping victim, returned to her home on the secluded island of Sado. Her father was too ill to travel.

China issues rules on biological agents

BEIJING China yesterday said it had issued new rules improving controls on exports of dual-use biological agents that could be used in weapons of mass destruction.

A licensing system will be set up to ensure biological exports do not wind up in unsafe hands, according to the rules, which will take effect in December, Xinhua news agency said.

The rules have "a significant bearing on fulfilling China's international nonproliferation obligations and normal development of foreign trade," Xinhua quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue as saying.

The Chinese announcement came ahead of a visit by President Jiang Zemin to the United States scheduled for Tuesday through Oct. 25.

Weekly notes

Relations between the United States and China are facing major challenges, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said in its annual report, published in London yesterday. Tensions between Beijing and Washington look set to worsen over security issues such as Taiwan and nuclear proliferation, despite Beijing's support for Washington's "war on terror," the report said. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra arrived in Moscow yesterday for talks focusing on a joint fight against terrorism as well as lagging trade ties.

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