Chinese, American citizen sentenced to life in prison for espionage

Chinese, American citizen sentenced to life in prison for espionage

China has sentenced Jun Sheng Wan Leung, also known as Liang Chengyun, who holds a US passport and permanently resides in Hong Kong, to life in prison on severe espionage charges. A statement issued by the Intermediate People’s Court in the city of Suzhou, located in the eastern province of Jiangsu, said Leung was “convicted of espionage, sentenced to life in prison and deprived of political rights for life.” Arrested on April 15, 2021 by China’s counterintelligence agency, Leung received “treatment in accordance with the law,” according to a post on the court’s official social media account, without adding any details of the charges against him. Investigations and trials in China, especially on sensitive issues such as state security, are held behind closed doors, and little information is released until the verdict. Allegations of espionage are very selective and supporting evidence is not released in standard practice among most countries to protect their intelligence networks and access to information.

Relations between the United States and China are still very tense

Relations between Washington and Beijing are very tense amid disagreements over trade, technology, human rights and China’s increasingly aggressive approach to territorial claims with neighboring countries. On May 10-11 in Vienna, White House security adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Communist Party diplomacy chief Wang Yi held ten hours of talks – according to Beijing media – to try to restore relations on a more comfortable level. The Suzhou court ruling has come to maturity as US President Joe Biden will be in Hiroshima, Japan, for the G7 summit (May 19-21), which will be followed by a historic visit to Papua New Guinea – a strategic Pacific island nation in the region where China has accelerated its efforts To increase its economic and diplomatic weight, along with its military influence – and from the last stop in Australia for the Quad meeting (an informal strategic alliance between Australia, Japan, India and the United States with the aim of containing Chinese expansion in the Indo-Pacific region).

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