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US businessman unjustly imprisoned in China
It all started when local Tax Auditors arrived at China Business Ventures Shanghai office and took possession of accounting records which lead to a 16 year conviction through faked confessions, miles of red tape, concocted evidence and a laughable trial. A man, falsely persecuted in secret who, with all avenues of appeal through the Chinese judicial system exhausted, looks abroad for help.
Jude is the fourth child of a Shanghai businessman woman, graduated from Shanghai’s Jiaotong University with a degree in computer science. In 1986, he moved to the Boston area to learn English and got a job at Digicom computers. He was accepted to Stanford a few years later, where he became close to a number of other students. He sprouted CBV Trading Co. through much of his own efforts and by 1997 was selling more than $100,000 worth of equipment to China each month.
During the summer of 1997, during one of his visits to China, Shanghai auditors visited his office to conduct a “special tax audit” and confiscated company books and accounting records, according to Shao. What started out as a tax audit of CBV trading ended up as a battle of wills between Shao and a tax auditor named Yu Jiaming, who upon starting the investigation, offered to dismiss the investigation for a $60,000 “tax audit bond” which was of course, rejected by Shao. Shao also stated, as reported by the KQED Radio broadcast on May 8, 2003 that these auditors “solicited these bribes three times to make the audit go smoother, and three times he refused.”
Shao left to head back to the United States where he continued to make visits to China during the next ten months. While he was in the US, Shanghai authorities confiscated CBV’s ledgers and froze all of its assets in China. The company in China collapsed after it couldn’t pay its fifteen employees.
Shao finally returned to pick up the pieces of his broken business, and in April 1998, acting upon an anonymous tip, the police picked him up at the Airport and found him in his hotel room and kept him detained in a secluded hotel room for five weeks. He was kept there and questioned while concerned officials at the U.S. consulate filed diplomatic protests to gain access to him. Jude was then moved to a detention center where he was kept imprisoned for twenty six months.
In May 1999, Jude was put on trial, accused of the crime of tax evasion and creating false invoices. His trial went less than haphazard. According to Karl Schoenberger of the Mercury News in his article Shanghai Retrial, “The violations of due process in Shao's 1998 detention and subsequent trial were so egregious, legal experts say, that his case stands out as a symbol of the corruption and the arbitrary rule of law that are still rampant in China -- even in a seemingly progressive oasis for international business like Shanghai.”
According to a news report of the Pacific Times, May 8, 2003, “Shao said he did nothing wrong, he says he has the records to prove it. But he was arrested, and held incommunicado. And without an attorney present, Shao was sentenced to 16 years in prison.”
He has currently served 45 months of his sixteen year sentence and according to the Chinese government, is able to to reduce that sentence, should he plead guilty and admit he did wrong.
He has exhausted all of his appeals, traveling as high as the Shanghai’s High People’s Court, where the appeal was also rejected.
Jude’s plight doesn’t end there. His health is ailing, his wife divorced him and his father died before he got a chance to see his son free.
Chuck Hoover spoke to the Pacific Times about Jude. “This is about corruption at the local level, that’s why Jude is imprisoned, and in this era where those business ethics are being criticized it is important to remember that …. Here’s a guy who’s sacrificed his freedom for his principles. Jude believed so strongly in his adopted country's ideals of the rule of law, honesty, and the laws of the United States, he’s sacrificing his freedom instead of compromising those.”
This reporter believes that Dan Gilmor said it best when he posted a message up on Siliconvalley.com’s e-journal saying “Perhaps the injustice of this case will lead to more focus on other innocent people who've been caught up in China's haphazard system. Let's also hope the government recognizes not only the negative impact on business, but on human rights.”
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