American College Student Released From Chinese Jail After Defending His Mother From Attacker
The Chinese regime have thrown out charges against an American college student who allegedly roughed up a Chinese taxi driver who attacked his mother.
Guthrie McLean, a senior at the University of Montana, said that he was acting in defense of his mother, who was only attacked because of a fare conflict.
‘Prayer’s answered. Guthrie’s home’, his mother, Jennifer McLean, wrote to Daines’s office to inform him. Tom Mitchell, a family friend as well as the Beijing bureau chief for the Financial Times, said Guthrie was only trying to protect his mother from a dishonest taxi driver that resorted to assaulting his mother.
In May, after finishing up his junior year, Guthrie flew out to Zhengzhou to visit his mother, who teaches English there. Guthrie has spent most of his life in China, moving there with his mother in 2001. His plan was to volunteer at a panda rescue center for the summer and then return to Montana for his final year of college, where he’s an East Asian Studies major, on August 29.
But those plans came halted on June 10, when Jennifer got into an altercation with a cab driver who drove her home, and then refused to give her change. She says that the ride came to 70 Renminbi, or $10.36 in US dollars. She gave him a 100 Renminbi note, but says he refused to give her change.
‘There then was a bit of an argument and the taxi driver started to rough Jennifer up,’ Mitchell told KPAX. ‘So, she describes him pushing and shoving her, grabbing her bags; she was very scared. She was able to call Guthrie and he saw what was happening. He pulled the taxi driver off her, threw him to the ground, and end of story. Or so it seemed.’
Then, five weeks later, police returned looking for Guthrie. The cab driver had gone to the police, alleging that he was seriously injured by Guthrie. The police demanded that Guthrie pay 100,000 Renminbi, or $14,800 U.S. dollars, as a settlement to the cabbie. When Guthrie said he couldn’t pay that amount, they lowered it to 60,000 Renminbi and then 50,000 Renminbi – the equivalent of almost $7,400. But when Guthrie still couldn’t pay it, they took him into custody.
He was arrested last Sunday and they decided to charge him with attempting to intentionally injure the taxi driver.
Mitchell says that Chinese law prescribes that Guthrie could have been sitting in prison for at most 30 days without police even laying out any charges against him.
‘You could end up actually sitting in the detention center for the better part of a year waiting for the police and prosecutors to finish their investigation, at which time it goes to trial.’
Before he was finally released, Democrat Senator Jon Tester of Montana wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, trying to get Guthrie out of jail.
‘It is my understanding that Guthrie has not yet been able to contact his mother nor has he been able to contact US officials about his detention. For that reason, I strongly urge you and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to provide diplomatic intervention to secure his timely release.’
It looks like the letters worked. Thanks be to God! This could have ended much worse as we know.