Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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Iraq Releases Peking University Student Arrested on Suspicion of Fighting for ISIS

Chinese Student Released Iraq

(Photo : REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani) Iraqi secuity forces walk with a Chinese traveler in Baghdad. Peking University student Xu Bin has been released by Iraqi authorities weeks after he was arrested on suspicion of attempting to join the Islamic State.

A Chinese archaeology student, who was arrested in Iraq on suspicion of being a member of the Islamic State, has been released after investigations revealed that he has no ties with the terrorist organization.

The Perking University student was arrested by Iraqi volunteer force Hashad al-Shabi on July 5th. He has been released to the Chinese embassy on Monday. Officials at the embassy stated that Xu Bin, who is also known as Lui Tuo, is well and will soon be on a flight back to China.

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The Chinese embassy in Iraq reached out to Iraqi authorities after news surfaced that a Chinese man had been captured while fighting for ISIS in Iraq's Al-Alnbar province.

The news was widely circulated with a picture of a Chinese man spotting a beard being guarded by two armed men. Later embassy officials located where Xu was being imprisoned and pushed for his release since records proved that he was a student on a tour across the region.

Perking University has validated Xu as a student. The reputed institution's department of archaeology had applied to Iraqi government bureaus to officially approve Xu's archaeological tours.

Iraqi officials guaranteed Xu's safety while he was being held at a police station in Samarra.

"We have verified with local police that they do not think that the Chinese man is a terrorist and will ensue his safety," an official with the embassy told Global Times.

Xu's release was successfully negotiated many days ago. However, officials scheduled his release date to come after Ramadan because all Iraqi government institutions were on holiday.

Xu, a student at Perking University Graduate School, had traveled to the Middle East with hopes of exploring its historic archaeological sites before they disappeared due to the ongoing war in the region.

"He always said he could not ignore the pearls of the Middle East because of war and unrest. It would be his biggest regret not to see the sites of ancient Babylonian culture and civilization," Xu's classmate told E China Cities.

Xu had previously traveled to the region on an archaeological expedition which lasted for about 44 days. Last summer, he reportedly traveled from China to Pakistan, then through Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Xu's friend revealed that prior to his trip to Iraq he learnt some basic Arabic cultural practices relating to the Ramadan period. He reportedly started growing his beard last year for security purposes.

In May, Xu wrote about his travel plans on a social media platform. He noted that he had decided to visit the Kurdish and south Baghdad regions for safety reasons

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