Texas Reps. Michael Cloud, Michael McCaul, and a group of House Republicans sent a letter Friday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on him to secure the release of Mark Swidan, an American who has been sentenced to death in China.
The Daily Caller first obtained a copy of the letter to Blinken led by Cloud and McCaul, who serves as the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It was signed by 50 other House Republicans. In the letter, the lawmakers call on Blinken to secure Swidan’s “release immediately.” They also ask for an update on Swidan’s situation and condition, and specifics about bringing him back to the U.S.
In 2012, Swidan was detained by Chinese officials and later arrested for an alleged criminal conspiracy to manufacture and traffic drugs, the letter notes. In 2019 he was convicted and sentenced to death.
“We write to you with extreme concern about a court decision to uphold the death sentence for Mark Swidan, an American citizen who has been arbitrarily detained in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for more than a decade. Mr. Swidan faces the real possibility of death despite the fact that he was not physically in the PRC during the time of the alleged crime,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.
READ THE LETTER HERE:
“Given the high profile return of Brittney Griner and the great lengths you and your team have made to bring her home, we ask that Mark Swidan’s safe return home be your highest priority in all engagements with the PRC,” they added.
On Tuesday, the House passed a resolution demanding the Chinese government “immediately release” Swidan.
“We must hold malign regimes accountable, especially those who are happy to capture innocent people for capital for future political bargaining. Mark Swidan has been a hostage and prisoner in China for over 10 years. I urge Secretary Blinken and the Biden administration to take action to secure the immediate release of Swidan and ensure he returns home to his family in Texas. Swidan and his family deserve nothing less,” Cloud told the Caller before sending the letter.