China Jails US Citizen For Life on Espionage Charges

    China Jails US Citizen For Life on Espionage Charges
    Last updated May 15, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • On Monday, a 78-year-old US citizen and permanent resident of Hong Kong was sentenced to life in prison on spying charges by a Chinese court in the southeastern city of Suzhou.
    • Without elaborating on the charges, the Suzhou Intermediate People's Court announced that John Shing-wan Leung was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to life in prison, with his political rights revoked for life.
    • A spokesman for the US Embassy in Beijing said the embassy was aware of reports of the case and referred to the safety of US citizens abroad as the State Department's primary concern, but declined to comment further for privacy reasons.
    • The sentencing of Leung, who was arrested on April 15, 2021, by counterintelligence authorities in Suzhou, comes ahead of US Pres. Biden's trip to Hiroshima, Japan, for the Group of Seven (G7) summit of major industrialized nations.
    • Prior to his conviction, Chinese authorities in March arrested a Japanese pharmaceutical executive on espionage charges, while last year, a senior editor of a Chinese Communist Party newspaper was detained for allegedly spying for Japan or the US.
    • In April, China revised its anti-spying law, broadening its scope by widening the definition of spying and banning the transfer of any data related to what the authorities define as national security. If convicted of espionage, the sentence can range from 11.5 years to life in prison.


    Anti-China narrative

    The dubious ruling in this case is just the latest example of how repressive China's crackdown on individuals and companies has become. The more powerful Beijing becomes, the more authoritarian its behavior becomes both internally and externally. As a result, China is not only jeopardizing the trust of foreign companies in the world's second-largest economy but also threatening the liberal, democratic US-led order.

    Pro-China narrative

    No details of the case are yet known, but one thing is certain: China is facing increasingly extensive and complex espionage attacks and related activities on its own soil. As the US-led West expands its espionage activities in China, the PRC has the right and duty to protect its national security through enhanced anti-espionage measures. While the Western media feigns outrage, individuals and companies doing normal and legal business in China have nothing to fear.

    Establishment split



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