Christian M. Marchant
Christian Marchant is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He has served as the political chief at the American Institute in Taiwan; special assistant in the office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs; external political unit chief in the office of China and Mongolia Affairs; political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi; political officer and consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Prague; and political officer and science and technology officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
While serving in Hanoi, he was attacked while trying to make a prearranged visit to a dissident Roman Catholic priest. According to the Washington Post, Marchant was pushed to the ground and his leg was slammed in a car door before police took him away. Marchant reported that “after getting me in the car, an officer jumped on top of me, knelt on my chest, slammed my head against the seat, and had one hand on my throat. I had no idea where they were taking me, and I couldn’t breathe for a little bit.” The police drove to a government office in the province and locked him in the car—with his cell phone. He called the embassy.
Before the attack, he had been notified that he would be awarded the 2011 Human Rights Officer of the Year (State Department’s highest honor) for creative approaches to expanding human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam.
- In what he calls the defining experience of his career thus far, Marchant put himself between the police and a female political dissident they were roughing up outside the trial of one of her friends. Later that night, local thugs assaulted the woman outside her home, hitting her in the head with a brick. She was later convicted of assault and sentenced to a three-and-a-half year jail term. Marchant helped negotiate her early release and fulfill her wish to emigrate: “I was privileged to fly with her and her daughter, escort them to America, and be the first to welcome them to the United States and to freedom,” says Marchant. “That was a real special experience.”
In addition to his work with the Department of State, he was legislative director for former Congresswoman Melissa Hart, deputy director of development for Armenian Assembly of America, and political military fellow with the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada. He worked on three congressional candidate campaigns.