Home at last after 8 years in a Chinese prison. ‘It’s the happiest day of my life’- Romanian teacher Marius Balo

Marius Balo Marius Balo, profesorul care a petrecut 8 ani de închisoare în China a ajuns acasa, Observator News
Marius Balo Marius Balo, profesorul care a petrecut 8 ani de închisoare în China a ajuns acasa, Observator News

Marius Balo, the Romanian teacher who was imprisoned in China over an 80$ trap, has finally arrived home at the end of an eight-year ordeal.


Mr Balo, now 40, appeared smiling as he was welcomed by his uncle and lawyer at the airport in his home town of Cluj, northwest Romania late Sunday.

He looked relaxed, but had lost most of his hair, maybe due to the hellish conditions in the Shanghai lockup where he spent the last eight years.

His first words upon arrival were: “I haven’t slept for 3 days, I’m levitating with all the emotion.  It’s the happiest  day of  my life. I’ve dreamed about this moment for so long.  I kept preparing for this moment mentally, days, weeks and  months on end. And now the  situation is somewhat surreal.” Observator News reported.

A day ahead of his departure from China, Mr Balo told Universul.net „Great day to resurrect on the Day of the Resurrection.” We decided to hold off on printing this comment until his arrival in Romania.

Contract fraud

Mr Balo arrived in China in 2010 to work as a university English teacher, and was arrested by Chinese authorities in March 2014 and charged with an alleged US$80 contract fraud and was later, in 2016, sentenced to eight years and fined 13,600 Euros.

He then spent  eight years in captivity in grueling conditions inside China’s prison system.

Peter Humphrey, a China expert from Britain who himself was arbitrarily incarcerated in China spoke to one of Mr Balo’s former cellmates for an exclusive report published by Universul.net last month.


Mr Balo flew into Bucharest on Sunday, which was Orthodox Easter, and later took a flight to Cluj. His return was frustrated by a number of setbacks after his release from prison in late March. A strict lockdown in Shanghai meant  his departure date was put back several times.

In November 2020, Mr. Balo staged a hunger strike in protest against the delay in his release and the failure to implement his transfer to Romania. He issued an emotional appeal to Romania to fetch him, something Romania failed to do so.


Mr. Balo’s legal representatives have denounced the conditions he was held in at the prison as “inhuman” and claimed he had to work 12 hours a day seven days a week to gain the right to food.



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