‘He’s been set up’: the American whose life may depend on US-China relations

Sentenced to death in China, American Mark Swidan hopes for a permanent reprieve but his fate may hinge on an easing of diplomatic tensions

When Chinese police raided the Guangzhou hotel room of Mark Swidan and arrested him on 13 November 2012, he was on the phone to his mother, Katherine. Swidan had been in China sourcing building materials for his business , Katherine says, and they were discussing booking his ticket home to Houston, Texas, for his wedding, when he said there was a knock at the door.

“I heard banging, then I didn’t hear anything after that,” she recalls.

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