Xiyue Wang

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Xiyue Wang
Born (1980-12-31) December 31, 1980 (age 38)
Beijing, China
Alma materUniversity of Washington
Harvard University
Princeton University

Xiyue Wang (Chinese: 王夕越; pinyin: Wáng Xīyuè; born December 31, 1980) is an American citizen[1] who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016 after being accused of espionage.[2][3] A PhD candidate in the Department of History at Princeton University, on 8 August 2016, he was arrested in Iran on charges of espionage while he was conducting research on the Qajar dynasty.[3] It was alleged that he sought access to confidential areas of Tehran libraries, paid thousands of dollars for access, and recorded 4,500 pages of digital documents.[4][5] In July 2017, he was sentenced to ten years in prison by Iran.[3][6] In response to the sentencing, the United States Department of State released a press statement saying "The Iranian regime continues to detain US citizens and other foreigners on fabricated national-security related changes."[3][6]


Wang was born on December 31, 1980 in Beijing, China.[7] He earned a BA in South Asian studies from the University of Washington, attended Harvard University from 2006 to 2008, then later worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan.[3][8] At Princeton, his thesis adviser is Stephen Kotkin.[3]

Detainment in Iran[edit]

Wang received $8,500 from the Princeton history department to go to Iran, as well as no more than $8,800 from the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.[1]

Wang disappeared in August 2016. His wife Hua Qun was notified of his detainment by a local Iranian lawyer.[2]

In Iran he suffers from health issues, but tries to respect local customs, such as fasting on Ramadan.[2]

According to Wang's wife, he was not warned that American citizens should not travel to Iran.[2]

Free Xiyue Wang movement[edit]

In July 2017 the American Council on Education and 31 other higher education and research associations issued a statement calling for Wang's release.[9] More than 1,000 researchers from 25 countries have signed a petition also calling for his safe return.[10][11]

On September 21, 2018, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that "there was no legal basis for the arrest and detention of Mr. Wang. His deprivation of liberty is arbitrary."[12]

On February 15, 2019, Princeton held a Free Xiyue Wang day.[13]

Personal and family[edit]

Wang is married to Hua Qu, and they have a son born in 2013.[2][14] His wife and son are Chinese citizens,[1] but a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has stated that Wang himself does not hold Chinese citizenship.[15]

Wang's mother has American citizenship. In 2001 he moved to the US with her. He became a naturalized citizen in 2009.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Frequently asked questions about Xiyue Wang". Princeton University. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e Qu, Hua (2019-05-24). "My husband Xiyue Wang is unjustly imprisoned in Iran". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Cunningham, Erin; Morello, Carol (July 16, 2017). "Iran sentences Princeton graduate student to 10 years for espionage, report says". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Adam Schreck (18 July 2017). "SCHOLAR DEFENDS CHINESE-AMERICAN RESEARCHER JAILED IN IRAN". Dubai: Macau Daily Times.
  5. ^ Gambrell, Jon (26 November 2017). "Iran TV airs stories targeting 2 detained dual nationals". Associated Press. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (July 16, 2017). "Iran sentences Chinese-born American to 10 years in jail on spying charges". The Guardian. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  7. ^ "第三个在牢狱中的生日 普林斯顿再呼吁释放王夕越". Voice of America (in Chinese). 2019-01-01. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  8. ^ Calamur, Krishnadev. "The Princeton Student Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison in Iran". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Statement by Higher Education Organizations on the Imprisonment of Xiyue Wang". American Council on Education. July 31, 2017. Archived from the original on 2019-06-30.
  10. ^ "Princeton supporting graduate student sentenced to prison in Iran". princeton.edu. July 31, 2017.
  11. ^ "Academic Statement for the Release of Xiyue Wang". American Historical Association. July 31, 2017.
  12. ^ "Opinion No. 52/2018 concerning Xiyue Wang (Islamic Republic of Iran)". 21 September 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Day of Action: Free Xiyue Wang | Department of History". history.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  14. ^ Bischoff, Christian (2017-09-18). "'He's Doing Poorly,' Says Wife of Princeton Student Jailed in Iran". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  15. ^ "2017年7月17日外交部发言人陆慷主持例行记者会". Retrieved January 11, 2019.

External links[edit]