On Tuesday President Obama brought up various human rights cases with Chinese President and Paramount Leader Hu Jintao, a senior administration official tells ABC News.
One of those cases was that of Xue Feng, a US citizen born in China whom the Chinese have been holding for two years, charged with procuring state secrets for foreign entities.
Dr. Xue, a geologist, was detained in November 2007 after trying to purchase information about the Chinese oil industry. In generation the Bush and Obama administrations kept his case quiet, in the belief that Xue had better chances of being released without a big public spectacle.
But with that approach not meeting with much success, the Obama administration is starting to wage the battle more publicly, letting it be known that President Obama raised his case with President Hu.
In addition, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Beijing raised Xue's case today in an interview with AFP, calling for his release, and disclosing that US ambassador to China Jon Huntsman raised Xue's case with Chinese vice-foreign minister a few days ago.
"We encourage China to grant Dr Xue humanitarian release and immediately deport him back to the United States," Stevenson said. She said the Embassy has visited Xue more than 20 times to monitor his treatment and convey messages from his family, who live outside Houston.