Sentenced Princeton scholar not a Chinese citizen, says Chinese embassy

China, which has diplomatic relations with Iran, will not be involved

A spokesperson at the Chinese embassy told The Tab that Xiyue Wang, the 37 year old graduate student sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Iranian court, is not a Chinese national as China does not recognize dual citizenship.

Wang was previously reported to be a dual Chinese-American citizen. The spokesperson, however, contradicted the claim. Wang was identified as a Chinese national in a 2010 feature article about his works in Afghanistan. However, according to the spokesperson, when an individual of Chinese nationality receives citizenship from another country, he will automatically relinquish his Chinese citizenship.

China has formal diplomatic ties with Iran and has established consulates in major Iranian cities.

“As Wang is an American citizen, the United States will be handling this matter. We have little room for involvement,” the spokesperson said.

Earlier today, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson also denied claims that Wang is a Chinese national.

In an email to the Associated Press, Princeton University professor Stephen Kotkin, who has served as Wang’s doctoral adviser, defended his integrity.

“Xiyue Wang is a remarkable, linguistically gifted graduate student,” he wrote. “He is innocent of all the charges.”

Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber also sent an email to all undergraduates Monday afternoon expressing support for Wang.

“Almost a year ago, Iranian authorities arrested one of our graduate students, Xiyue Wang, and charged him with espionage even though he was in Iran solely for the purpose of doing scholarly research and studying Farsi.  For the past year, the University has been working on a daily basis to try to secure his release and to support him and his family in this exceedingly difficult time.  I am grateful to the people on campus and in our alumni community, and to experts from the private sector and in government, who have assisted our efforts to secure Xiyue Wang’s release from the unjust detention that has threatened his health, pained his family, and distressed all who learned of his plight.

Until this weekend, the University and his family kept the matter confidential on the recommendation of multiple advisers inside and outside of government who counseled us that publicity might be harmful to our student’s interests,” the email reads.

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