In September of 2019, Jacob and our eight-year-old daughter were traveling for his English-teaching business in China when they were arrested and brought into custody. His phone, computer, and personal items were taken. After two days of not knowing their whereabouts, they were allowed a video call home and soon our daughter was able to travel safely back to our family. Following that, Jacob spent three months on house arrest in a hotel in a small city. He was not allowed to work at all during this time nor learn about the progress of the case.
Although his business, China Horizons, has had to close its doors for obvious concerns, we were thankfully able to return all our teachers safely home. However, Alyssa Petersen, the China Horizons director and our dear friend, was also arrested and detained in jail and is currently in the same situation as Jacob. (A Go Fund Me for Alyssa set up by her family is at https://www.gofundme.com/f/alyssa039s-been-arrested-in-china.)
On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve 2019, Jacob was summoned to the lobby of the hotel, transported to another city, and placed in a detention center. Everything was taken from him, including his glasses, and he has been confined exclusively to the jail. Since that time, we’ve had no direct contact with him.
Jacob has had one visit from a consulate member and, now that we’ve been able to engage a Chinese law firm, one visit from the lawyers. He now has glasses, reading material, and warm clothing. With the threat of the coronavirus within China and abroad, even those minimal visits have been halted, as have mail services and most of the fresh food deliveries. Despite his disheartening situation, Jacob is full of faith and finding the good.
This GoFundMe account was set up to fund the costs of an overseas lawyer. Additional funds for the family’s living expenses and Jacob’s future travel and other expenses have been gratefully received in other ways (Venmo @Kathrine-Harlan). Jacob, Kathrine, and their five children express deep appreciation to all who have contributed. Thank you and much love!
[NOTE: At this time, the Harlan family in Utah is doing well (under the circumstances). However, we ask that you respect their privacy. You can direct any questions or messages to the email connected to this campaign. We seek to avoid media attention.]