In a case that could aggravate the deterioration of relations between Beijing and Washington over recent years, China sentenced a 78-year-old US citizen to life imprisonment on Monday, May 15, 2023, on espionage charges.


 Edited by| Tony Wild

Asia  section -  CJ journalist

BEIJING - May ,15,2023    


   Details of the charges against John Shing-Wan Leung, who also holds permanent residency in Hong Kong, have not been publicly released.

Leung was detained on April 15, 2021, by the local bureau of China’s counterintelligence agency in the southeastern city of Suzhou, according to a statement posted by the city’s intermediate court on its social media site. His detention came after China had closed its borders and imposed tight domestic travel restrictions and social controls to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Such investigations and trials are held behind closed doors and little information is generally released other than vague accusations of infiltration, gathering secrets, and threatening state security.

While the Suzhou court offered no indication of a tie to overall China-U.S. relations, spying charges are highly selective, and evidence backing them up is not released. That is a standard practice among most countries, who wish to secure their personal connections, networks, and access to information.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said it was aware of the case, but could not comment further due to privacy concerns. “The Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the embassy said in the emailed statement.


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