- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2005

Prisoner in China

The U.S. ambassador to China is pressing the communist government to release an American citizen serving 16 years in prison on tax-fraud charges that his supporters say were fabricated because he refused to pay bribes to Chinese officials.

Jude Shao, who was jailed in 1999, is also suffering from a heart ailment.

“I am deeply concerned about Mr. Shao’s medical condition,” Ambassador Clark Randt told the Reuters news service in Beijing. “I am very hopeful that the Chinese government will consider Mr. Shao for prompt medical parole.”

A Web site dedicated to his support (www.freejudeshao.com) says he was accused of tax violations after he refused to pay officials who were auditing the Shanghai office of his San Francisco-based medical-supply business.

New ambassadors

President Bush has nominated two of his top campaign fundraisers to serve as ambassadors, to Britain and Italy.

He selected Robert H. Tuttle of Beverly Hills, Calif., to serve in London and Ronald Spogli of Los Angeles to serve in Rome. Both are businessmen who raised more than $100,000 each for Mr. Bush’s re-election.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Presidents Festus Mogae of Botswana, John Kufuor of Ghana, Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Mamadou Tandja of Niger. They meet President Bush to discuss democracy in Africa.

• Roza Otunbaeva, acting foreign minister of Kyrgyzstan. She meets National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley and former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, now president of the Brookings Institution, and holds a 4:30 p.m. press conference at the National Press Club. Tomorrow, she meets Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican; and Rep. Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, and addresses the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. On Friday, she holds talks with the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, and Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican.

• Gov. Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria.

Tomorrow

• A group of Iraqi labor leaders — Abed Sekhi of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions; Adnan A. Rashed of the Union of Mechanics, Printing and Metals Workers; Falah Awan, president of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq; Amjad Ali Aljawhry of the Union of the Unemployed in Iraq; and Hassan Juma’a Awad Al Asade and Faleh Abbood Umara of the General Union of Oil Employees. They hold a 9 a.m. press conference at the National Press Club.

Wednesday

• Gordon Campbell, premier of British Columbia, Canada, who delivers the keynote address at a conference hosted by the AARP and Partners for Livable Communities.

• Betina Hagerup, deputy director-general of the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency; Arito Ono, senior economist at Japan’s Mizuho Research Institute; and professor Allan Riding of Canada’s Carleton University. They speak at a conference hosted by the International Council for Small Business, the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Thursday

• Colombian advocates Ventura Diaz Ceballos, a former member of the M-19 rebel army who led peace talks with the government; Carlos Rosero, founder of Black Communities Process, an Afro-Colombian grass-roots organization; and the Rev. Alvaro Mosquera. They address invited guests of the Inter-American Dialogue.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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