China sentences 78-year-old US citizen to life imprisonment on charges of espionage
China on Monday sentenced a 78-year-old US citizen to life in prison on charges of espionage.
John Shing-Wan Leung, a permanent resident of Hong Kong, was arrested by the Counterintelligence Service in the southeastern city of Suzhou on April 15, 2021.
The city’s Intermediate Court announced Leung’s verdict in a brief statement on its social media page, but did not provide details of the charges.
Such investigations and trials take place behind closed doors and little or no information is released.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have hit an all-time low amid disputes over trade, technology, human rights and China’s increasingly aggressive crackdown on its territorial claims.
The sentencing comes as US President Joe Biden travels to Hiroshima, Japan, for the Group of Seven Summit, followed by a visit to Papua New Guinea, a Pacific island nation in a region where China has been trying to boost its economy. military and diplomatic influence.
While the Suzhou court offered no evidence linking it to overall China-US relations, the espionage allegations are highly selective and no evidence is released.
This is standard practice in most countries that want to protect their personal connections, networks and access to information.
However, China’s authoritarian political system and the ruling Communist Party’s absolute control over legal affairs, civil society and freedom of information prevent demands for more information and court appeals.