UM student released from detention in China, plans to return to Missoula

Guthrie McLean

A University of Montana student held in China for allegedly injuring a taxi driver while defending his mother has been released in good condition, the state’s congressional delegation said on Sunday.

Guthrie McLean, who is majoring in East Asian studies at UM, was released from his week-long detention in central China and is reportedly in good condition, according to a press release issued by Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester.

“I am thrilled to report that we just received an email from Guthrie McLean’s mother that ‘prayers answered, Guthrie is home,’” Daines said. “After days of working the phones with top Chinese and American officials to secure Guthrie’s freedom from a Chinese detention facility, he has been safely reunited with his mother.”

McClain was detained after he allegedly pushed a taxi driver to the ground. The student said the driver was roughing up his mother in a dispute over the taxi fare.

Senators Daines and Tester helped negotiate the student’s release, an effort that involved Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad, along with Chinese officials.

McClain was returned to his mother’s home in China and plans on returning to Missoula to continue his studies, according to the family.

“As a parent, there is nothing more nerve-wracking than being concerned about your child’s safety,” Tester said in a Sunday press release. “I am overjoyed that Guthrie is safe and sound and will be reunited with his mother.  This really is a testament to what can be accomplished when we turn up the heat and hold government accountable.”