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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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President Shapiro expresses concern for detained alumnus

Princeton University President Harold T. Shapiro has written to Chinese President Jiang Zemin, expressing concern for a graduate alumnus detained since February without being charged.

In a letter delivered Tuesday to the Chinese embassy in Washington, Shapiro noted "deep concern" about the detention in China of Li Shaomin, a demography scholar who received his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton in 1988. Li, a U.S. citizen, is a member of the faculty at the City University of Hong Kong.

"Since he is an active researcher and scholar, there is great concern that his detention may be related to his academic activity, and thus could have a chilling effect on scholarly engagement between the United States and China," Shapiro wrote.

"Princeton is one of many universities where there has been much fruitful scholarly collaboration and student exchange with China in recent years," the letter continues. "As I am sure you appreciate, these activities depend on respect for the freedom of academic inquiry and the thoughtful pursuit of academic research."

Li was detained Feb. 25. In his letter, Shapiro said he hoped the matter "can be resolved as promptly as possible."

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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