Frequently asked questions about Xiyue Wang

Introduction: On August 7, 2016, Xiyue Wang, a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of History at Princeton University and a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2009, was detained and confined to Evin Prison in Tehran while in Iran solely for the purpose of studying Farsi and doing scholarly research in connection with his Ph.D. dissertation. His field is late 19th and early 20th century Eurasian history. His dissertation will study regional governance practices across multiple countries during that time period, and after he left Iran he was planning to continue his research in Russia. In Iran he was interested in studying decades-old archival materials that pertained to the administrative and cultural history of the Qajar dynasty, which ruled from 1785-1925. In February 2017, Mr. Wang was charged with two counts of espionage. In April he was convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. His appeal of his sentence is scheduled to be heard this summer.

What was the purpose of Mr. Wang’s visit to Iran?

Mr. Wang visited Iran between January 25 and March 10, 2016, to attend a Farsi language program at the Dehkhoda Lexicon Institute & International Center for Persian Studies. He returned to Iran on May 1 to continue his language studies and conduct dissertation research at libraries in Iran. Before traveling to Iran he sent letters explaining his research plan to the Iranian Interest Section at the Pakistani embassy in Washington, D.C. (which issued his visa) and to the libraries in Iran that he planned to visit. He was very transparent about what he wanted to study and why, and about his desire to access documents housed at Iranian libraries and archives. He was not involved in any political activities or social activism; he was simply a scholar trying to gain access to materials he needed for his dissertation.

What are the charges against Mr. Wang?

Neither Mr. Wang’s family nor the University has seen the indictment, records of the trial proceedings or the verdict. His Iranian counsel has advised that he was convicted of two counts of espionage under the Iranian Criminal Code. The recent Iranian announcement says that he was “sent” by Princeton to “infiltrate” Iran and that he had connections to intelligence agencies. These charges are completely false. Princeton does not determine where students will conduct their research; like all of our scholars, Mr. Wang made his own judgments about what research he needed to do and where he needed to do it for his dissertation. He was not connected to any government or intelligence agencies.

Who provided the funding for Mr. Wang’s travel to Iran?

Mr. Wang received $8500 from the Department of History at Princeton University and just under $8800 from the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton to support his travel, language classes and research. After Mr. Wang was arrested, he was required to deposit $12,000 with the Iranian Ministry of Justice.

What is the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies?

The Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies is an interdisciplinary center at Princeton University. Its academic mission is to serve as a non-political and non-governmental educational resource that supports scholarship on Iran and the Persian Gulf, including research into the history, literature, art and culture of the region, from ancient Iran to today. The center does not conduct its own research, but it supports and brings public attention to the independent academic research of students, faculty and scholars, as well as cultural activities including art exhibits, music, films and translations.

What is Mr. Wang's citizenship?

Mr. Wang, 36, was born in Beijing, China, in 1980 and immigrated to the United States with his mother, an American citizen, in 2001. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009. HIs wife and child are Chinese citizens.

Where is Mr. Wang being held captive?

Mr. Wang has been at Evin Prison since August 7, 2016. He spent his first 18 days in solitary confinement. He has been in multiple wards over the course of his confinement. The prison conditions are difficult and have contributed to a worrisome decline in Mr. Wang’s health.

Has anyone from the U.S. communicated with and provided support to Mr. Wang while in prison?

Yes. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran and Mr. Wang has had four consular visits by the Swiss embassy since his confinement. Also, he has been permitted to make phone calls to his wife on an almost weekly basis and has had several visits from his attorney. However, it has been 15 months since Mr. Wang last saw his wife or his four-year-old son.

What actions has the University taken since learning of Mr. Wang’s arrest?

The University has been working on a daily basis to try to secure Mr. Wang’s release and to support him and his family. It also retained counsel for Mr. Wang in Iran. The University is continuing its support for Mr. Wang and his family as well as its efforts to secure his release.

Why didn’t the University discuss this matter publicly before now?

The University and Mr. Wang’s family kept this matter confidential on the recommendation of multiple knowledgeable advisers who counseled that publicity would likely impede efforts to secure Mr. Wang’s release. Even though the Iranian judiciary has now publicized his situation, we hope that the appellate authorities in Iran will recognize that Mr. Wang’s actions in Iran were devoted solely to scholarly research and will allow him to return home to his doctoral studies and his family.

Posted July 20, 2017

Updated July 28, 2017, and Nov. 29, 2017

 

关于普林斯顿大学博士生王夕越在伊朗遭拘禁一案的常见问题回答

引言:

2016年8月7日,普林斯顿大学历史系四年级博士生王夕越被拘留并囚禁在位于德黑兰的埃文监狱(Evin Prison)。王夕越自2009年起成为美国公民,他前往伊朗的唯一目的是从事与博士论文相关的学术研究并进修波斯语。他的专业领域是19世纪晚期至20世纪早期的欧亚史,以跨区域的和比较的方法进行历史研究。他的博士论文的主题是欧亚大陆不同国家在这一时期的地方治理实践。他原计划在离开伊朗后赴俄罗斯和英国继续课题研究。在伊朗期间,他学术兴趣集中于研究一百年前的老档案,藉此探索凯迦王朝(1785年-1925年)的行政史和文化史。2017年2月,王夕越被伊朗指控间谍罪和与伊朗有敌对关系的国家合作罪。2017年4月间,他被定罪并判处10年监禁,王夕越随后提起上诉,8月二审判决驳回王夕越上诉,维持原判。

 

王夕越访问伊朗的目的是什么?

王夕越在2016年1月25日到3月10日期间访问伊朗,目的是为在德胡达学会暨国际波斯研究中心(Dehkhoda Lexicon Institute & International Center for Persian Studies)进修波斯语课程。2016年5月1日,他回到德黑兰,在德黑兰的一些主要的图书馆档案馆中开展博士论文档案研究,并继续进修波斯语。在前往伊朗之前,他向华盛顿巴基斯坦大使馆下属的伊朗利益代表处(伊朗签证的签出机构)以及计划访问的图书馆档案馆都发出了公函,向他们解释了自己的研究计划。在信件中,他非常坦率诚恳地陈述了自己的研究目的和内容,并表达了查阅伊朗图书馆和档案馆中馆藏文件的意愿和申请档案文件的范围。他完全没有卷入任何政治活动与社会运动,仅仅作为一名学者查阅其博士论文所需史料。

 

王夕越被控什么罪名?

王夕越的家人和学校至今都没有看到伊朗方面对他的指控书、庭审记录以及裁决书。据他在伊朗的辩护律师称,根据伊朗刑法,他被定为间谍罪和与伊朗有敌对关系的国家合作罪。伊朗政府在一项最新声明中说,王夕越是被普林斯顿大学“派遣”并“渗透”到伊朗来的,并声称为王夕越提供研究经费的普林斯顿大学摩萨瓦-拉玛尼伊朗和波斯湾研究中心(Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies)以及与王夕越围绕博士论文研究进行正常学术交流的美国和伊朗历史学教授是伊朗的敌人。这些指控是完全错误和没有依据的。普林斯顿大学从来不会指示自己的学生选择哪些地方去开展自己的研究(也不会签署和接受任何不能公开发表的科研合同和基金)。就像所有其他学者一样,王夕越为了博士论文需要查阅什么史料、到哪里去查阅,都出自本人的学术判断。王夕越与历史学家就其博士论文进行学术交流和讨论,是正常的学术行为。王夕越没有与任何政府部门或情报部门有任何联系,也没有将其查阅获得的档案文件发送给任何机构。

王夕越所查阅获得的档案文件均为一百年前的老档案,年代截止到1920年,且均非保密文件。

 

王夕越和他的家属具有哪国国籍?

王夕越1980年在中国北京出生,2001年随其母亲(美国国籍)持绿卡亲属移民美国,先后就读于华盛顿大学和哈佛大学获得学士学位和硕士学位,2009年加入美国国籍,现为美国公民。王夕越的妻子和孩子均是中国国籍。

 

谁为王夕越的伊朗之行提供经费?

普林斯顿大学历史系为王夕越提供了8500美元的研究经费,同时,普林斯顿大学摩萨瓦-拉玛尼伊朗和波斯湾研究中心(Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies)也为他提供了不到8800美元研究经费,这些经费都是校内经费(需要由学生和导师提出申请),主要用来支持他在伊朗的旅行、语言课程与学术研究。在其被捕后,王夕越被伊朗政府要求向伊朗司法部交付12000美元的罚款,该罚款实际由普林斯顿大学支付给了伊朗司法部。

 

摩萨瓦-拉玛尼伊朗与波斯湾研究中心(Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies)是什么组织?

摩萨瓦-拉玛尼伊朗与波斯湾研究中心(像其他很多校内的研究中心一样)是普林斯顿大学的一个跨学科研究中心。作为一个非政治的、非政府的教育资源,它的学术使命是支持关于伊朗和波斯湾的学术研究,包括从古至今的伊朗历史、文学、艺术,以及区域文化。此中心并没有自己的特定的研究课题也不亲自开展研究,只是通过(向申请的课题)提供资助,来支持学生、教授以及学者关于伊朗的独立学术研究项目。除此之外,该中心还支持一些诸如艺术展览、音乐、电影和翻译等文化活动。

 

王夕越目前被拘禁在哪里?

王夕越自2016年8月7日起被拘禁在埃文监狱(Evin Prison)。他在单独囚禁的牢房被关押了最初18天,此后被转移到若干个不同的牢房。埃文监狱的条件很差,导致王夕越的健康状况逐渐恶化,令人十分担忧。

 

在王夕越监禁期间,是否有美国方面人士与王夕越联系并向他提供援助?

有。由于瑞士政府在伊朗代表美国的利益,瑞士使馆已经对王夕越进行了四次领事访问。并且,伊朗方面允许他几乎每周都能与他的妻子简短通电话。他的代理律师也已经探望过他若干次。但是,王夕越已经有一年半没有见到他的妻子和四岁大的儿子了。

 

自从得知王夕越被捕,普林斯顿大学采取了哪些行动?

普林斯顿大学付出了最大努力,一直在争取王夕越获释,并对他的家人给予最大的支持。校方还帮助王夕越在伊朗获取律师法律援助。我校会继续支持王夕越及其家人,并争取他的早日获释。

 

为什么在此之前普林斯顿大学没有公开讨论这件事?

校方和王夕越的家属之前对此事一直保密,因为一些意见人士曾经劝告我们不要公开此事,否则可能对王夕越的获释造成不利影响。现在,伊朗的司法机构已经公开了他的处境,但我们仍希望伊朗的上诉机构能够认识到,王夕越在伊朗的行为完全是为了学术研究的目的。我们期待伊朗方面能够允许王夕越归国与家人团聚,并继续他的博士研究。

 

2017年7月20日发布

2017年7月28日更新