Texas Senator Ted Cruz is calling for China to release Mark Swidan, an American who was detained in the communist country in 2012, according to The Daily Wire. Swidan was reportedly on a business trip when he was accused of being part of a criminal drug conspiracy.
Swidan’s mother believes that the release of Trevor Reed, a Marine who was imprisoned in Russia, signals some hope that the U.S. can also negotiate Swidan’s release. Both the GOP-led House and Democrat-led Senate have passed a resolution demanding the communist country stop holding Swidan hostage.
The resolution states that Swidan is innocent of the charges, noting that drugs were not found in Swidan’s hotel room and no forensic evidence was produced by the prosecution. In addition, records show that Swidan was not in China at the time of the offenses and that the 11 other individuals detained for the conspiracy could not recognize Swidan.
Cruz’s resolution, co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn mentions the “inhumane” conditions, lack of medical care, and the inability of Swidan to contact his family.
Part of his conviction came with a death sentence, but it was delayed for another two years. Now congressional leaders are making appeals to the Biden administration as well as sending a message to China that they are not backing down.
Cruz said that China does not want the world to know they are “oppressive despots,” and remarked that “great powers” do not keep hostages. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the Biden administration is working to free Swidan, but Cruz notes that the Houston businessman’s name has not been said once by the president.
The State Department claims that Biden raised the question of “wrongfully detained U.S. nationals” in a November meeting with Xi Jinping. Again, Cruz claims that that is not enough.