Xiyue Wang Biography, Wiki
Xiyue Wang is an American citizen who was imprisoned in Iran from 2016 to 2019 after being accused of espionage. A Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Princeton University, on 8 August 2016, he was arrested in Iran on charges of espionage while he was conducting research on the Qajar dynasty. It was alleged that he sought access to confidential areas of Tehran libraries, paid thousands of dollars for access, and recorded 4,500 pages of digital documents. In July 2017, he was sentenced to ten years in prison by Iran. In response to the sentencing, the United States Department of State released a press statement saying “The Iranian regime continues to detain US citizens and other foreigners on fabricated national-security related changes.”
Princeton University can confirm the release of its graduate student, Xiyue Wang, from Iran. We are working with his family and the U.S. government to ensure his safe and speedy return to the United States. Fuller statement coming shortly. pic.twitter.com/QhUd1nY8uY
— Princeton University (@Princeton) December 7, 2019
Quick Facts You Need to Know
Xiyue Wang Age
He is 38 years old
Wang was born on December 31, 1980 in Beijing, China.
He earned a BA in South Asian studies from the University of Washington, attended Harvard University from 2006 to 2008, then later worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan. At Princeton, his thesis adviser is Stephen Kotkin.
Xiyue Wang Wife, Son
Wang is married to Hua Qu, and they have a son born in 2013. His wife and son are Chinese citizens, but a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has stated that Wang himself does not hold Chinese citizenship.
Xiyue Wang Mother
Wang’s mother has American citizenship. In 2001 he moved to the US with her. He became a naturalized citizen in 2009.
Xiyue Wang Detention in Iran
Iran’s foreign minister says a detained Princeton graduate student will be exchange for an Iranian scientist held by the U.S. The trade involves graduate student Xiyue Wang and scientist Massoud Soleimani. https://t.co/ZRRL0x3ZcG
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 7, 2019
Wang received $8,500 from the Princeton history department to go to Iran, as well as no more than $8,800 from the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.
Wang disappeared in August 2016. His wife Hua Qu was notified of his detainment by a local Iranian lawyer.
In Iran he suffers from health issues, but tries to respect local customs, such as fasting on Ramadan.
According to Wang’s wife, he was not warned that American citizens should not travel to Iran.
In December 2019, it was announced that he will be released in a prisoner swap after three years in prison.
Xiyue Wang Free Xiyue Wang movement
In July 2017 the American Council on Education and 31 other higher education and research associations issued a statement calling for Wang’s release. More than 1,000 researchers from 25 countries have signed a petition also calling for his safe return.
On September 21, 2018, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that “there was no legal basis for the arrest and detention of Mr. Wang. His deprivation of liberty is arbitrary.”
On February 15, 2019, Princeton held a Free Xiyue Wang day.
Xiyue Wang Released from Iran
Some good news: In a prisoner swap, Iran has freed Xiyue Wang, a Princeton graduate student who had been imprisoned since 2016 for engaging in scholarly research. Credit to Brian Hook for negotiating his release. https://t.co/baiv0vahql
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) December 7, 2019
On 7 December 2019, Iran announced the release of Wang in exchange for an Iranian scientist, Masoud Soleimani, held by the United States.
Xiyue Wang was released in Switzerland in exchange for Iranian citizen Massoud Soleimani, who was being held in an Atlanta jail over accusations he violated U.S. sanctions.
“We thank our Swiss partners for their assistance in negotiating Mr. Wang’s release with Iran,” said President Donald Trump in a statement confirming the news.