Federal resolution leads to renewed hope for mother of Houston man wrongfully imprisoned in China

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Thursday, February 2, 2023
Lawmakers reignite push to release Houstonian from Chinese prison
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Texas lawmakers push the Biden administration to bring home a Houstonian who was sentenced to life in a Chinese prison.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With Trevor Reed and Brittney Griner back home, a Texas mother said she hoped her son will be next.

Katherine Swidan has the support of Texas legislators in Washington. A resolution filed Wednesday calls on the Chinese government to release her son, Mark Swidan. Eyewitness News has been covering his wrongful detainment since he was first arrested in 2012.

In 2022, Katherine said she wanted someone to reach out to her and help her. Turns out, legislators were listening. Senators Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, and Representative Michael Cloud's joint resolution puts pressure on the Biden administration to broker another deal to bring an imprisoned American back home.

Sen. Cruz talked about Mark Swidan on the Senate floor on Wednesday. He went over the details that led to his wrongful detainment and death sentence. Back in 2012, the Houstonian was arrested while on a business trip in Beijing and accused of being part of a criminal conspiracy to manufacture and traffic drugs. The senator said a sham trial led to his conviction, but Swidan maintains his innocence and never signed a confession. While jailed, he has reportedly been treated inhumanely. His health has also declined.

SEE ALSO: Houston man Mark Swidan's mom believes Trevor Reed release can happen to her son in China

The resolution condemns the Chinese government and calls for Mark's immediate release.

"The world can see that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to use hostages and hostage-taking as a tool," Cruz said. "Their treatment of Mark is not how great nations and great powers behave. Their treatment of Mark is how third-world despots act."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be in Beijing early next week. The department, so far, has resisted discussing details of diplomatic conversations with the Chinese.

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