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US citizen, husband, and father wrongly detained since 2016

Sentenced to 10 years in Chinese prison on politically motivated espionage charges

Kai in 2015. Long Island Sound, New York

This website is designed to raise awareness of the detention of Kai Li, an American wrongfully detained in China since September 2016 on politically motivated charges of espionage and stealing state secrets. He is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence at Shanghai’s Qingpu Prison.

Kai is the only US citizen currently held in China on state security charges. The Chinese government has repeatedly used state security charges to detain foreign nationals for political leverage: the highly publicized detention of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, in apparent retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, is a case in point, as are the former cases of geologist Xue Feng and businesswoman Sandy Phan-Gillis.

Kai has been wrongly separated from his family in New York for nearly four years now. During that time he has suffered from numerous health issues including shingles and irregular heartbeat. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kai has not been visited by the US Consulate, or anyone else, since January 2020, making it difficult to ascertain his well-being. While Kai’s case has been raised on dozens of occasions by officials at all levels of the US government, this has evidently not been enough, and further public awareness is needed. Here are some ways you can help.

More information about Kai’s case can be found here, and a timeline of case developments can be found here. For media inquiries, please contact