Here is an ongoing case that shocked me utterly when I heard about it – a college student was arrested and charged with terrorism just because he got into a purely verbal dispute with a faculty member, and the police has kept him in cutody without informing his family.

The student’s name is TianTian Zhai, an international graduate student of Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ. Around April 15, there was a verbal dispute between him and a faculty member of Stevens Tech, but there was no physical contact between them. On April 16, Zhai was arrested and charged with terrorism, and nobody outside knew about his detention until a jail-mate of Zhai passed the news to a local restaurant owner in early May, who then passed the news to Zhai’s incredulous parents. Zhai is still being detained. It is unknown whether he is being represented by any lawyer.

According to the news reports in the Chinese American communities such as “Qiao Bao” (”Expatriate News Report,” May 20, 2010), during the verbal dispute Zhai said to the faculty member: “If worse comes to worst, I’ll fight you to the end.” While those words sound inappropriate and aggressive to me, it is clearly not terrorism. In addition, not having been in the states for long, Zhai might not really mean what his words sounded like. Furthermore, even if Zhai meant what he said, when did our country fall into a state that criminalizes people purely based on their speech?

Here is picture of Zhai–

—I doubt any sane person upon looking at the picture would not find the terrorism charge unbelievable.

Cases like this make me wonder if the real terrorists have already won their war.  Paranoia has spread to even university campuses.  Where is our good old tolerant trusting American way of life?

What Say You?

Should the U.S. cancel Constitutional freedoms which have served as a democracy model throughout the world, due to fear of terrorism from a small number of religious extremists?

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