Report from Roy and Kathleen Sneddon December 2005
Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2005 11:55 AM
The Roy Sneddon family traveled to China in September 2005 in our continual efforts to bring David home. We did not expect to locate him during this visit, nor to bring him home; however, our plan was to soften the hearts and open the minds of the local officials in an effort to rekindle the urgency to find David. That was our goal, and we feel that in it we were highly successful. Unexpectedly, we were able to meet with high government officials from both the U.S. and China. We are very grateful for the full cooperation and support from the American Embassy in China and the State Department in Washington, D.C.
Our family, Roy, Kathleen, and seven adult children (Michael, Jannene, James, Katherine, Cameron, Nathan and Jenny), spent nine days in China in our continuing search for David Sneddon. Through the efforts of the U.S. Embassy personnel in Beijing and those of the Consulate at Chengdu, we met with high level Chinese government officials in Zhongdian (Shangri-la) and Lijiang, Yunnan, PRC. In these meetings the siblings were able to share their thoughts and memories about David. For all in attendance, it was an emotional experience. Additionally, in Beijing we met with Ambassador Randt, and we had a lovely luncheon in Beijing with Yafei He, the Chinese Director General of Foreign Affairs for North America and Oceania. In each case we made friends for David’s cause and found people sharing common aspirations for their children. We provided a short document about David’s family written in Mandarin for each of the Chinese officials present at our meetings. You may view this as an attachment in English.
In our exit interview with Ambassador Randt we were able to express our gratitude for all the Embassy has done in David’s behalf. We reviewed with him our odyssey across China’s Yunnan Province, and what we feel was a productive meeting with Yafei He. The Ambassador was most gracious, considerate, and interested in our situation. The Embassy and staff of American Citizens Services have gone beyond the “second mile” in their continuing efforts to help.
We feel that our family’s visit to China was significantly more productive and useful than we could have anticipated. In our meetings with the Chinese officials we were able to put a family face on David with his attendant father, mother, brothers, and sisters. Family was common ground with the Chinese officials. They could now empathize, and in many cases hearts were softened in our behalf. As a side note, we find it significant that we were served a lot of hot water, but no tea and in the formal lunch with Yefei He, ample fruit juice (non alcoholic) was available for the traditional Chinese toast.
We retraced the steps David had taken, where he ate and slept and often saw his face on a “missing person” poster. David loved to visit with the local Chinese in their villages. Thus this final comment: Instead of asking “Why did he go alone?”, David’s siblings now comment, “We know why he came here — the mountains, the villages and most important the people!”
Thanks again for your continual interest and prayers in our behalf.
Roy and Kathleen Sneddon