American Woman Hunts Elusive Chinese Justice
Pulling her scarf a little higher to cover her mouth, she braved the bitter wind chill on one of Beijing’s coldest days to march to the Supreme People’s Court.
Like hundreds of Chinese who haunt government offices in the capital every day, American Julie Harm is seeking attention and help from national authorities in redressing her grievances against local officials. She could have blended in with the crowds outside all the nondescript buildings she’s visited in the past year – if not for her tall frame and strawberry-blond hair.
Harms, 31, has unwittingly become the first and only foreign – and thus the most famous – petitioner in China, with her story and photos splashing across newspapers, magazines and Web sites. For the Houston native, her unlikely celebrity status grew out of a simple yet daunting mission: clearing the name of her Chinese fiancé, imprisoned on what she says is a false charge.