Debt dispute leaves Missouri man in limbo in China

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Associated Press

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 20 at 3:01 PM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri man involved in a business dispute has been stuck in China for five months after the Chinese government refused to let him leave.

The Chinese government forced Steve Fleischli of Labadie, Mo., to surrender his passport in a dispute over his company's unpaid debt to Chinese firms. Complicating matters is that he has lost his job since going to China on business in January.

Many of the details of the case, including exactly why Fleischli was fired from his job, are unclear. But Fleischli's story offers insight into the perils of a westerner doing business in China, especially when commercial disputes are involved.

The State Department declined to comment on his case. But its website says there's little it can do to intervene in such situations.

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