Chinese authorities announced that a 78-year-old American citizen has been convicted of espionage. In a brief statement, the Intermediate People’s Court in the eastern city of Suzhou said that John Shing-Wan Leung, who was a permanent resident of Hong Kong, was sentenced to life in prison for his crime. He was also deprived of his political rights for life and fined 500,000 yuan, equivalent to about $72,000.
Leung was taken into custody by the Chinese State Security Bureau in the Suzhou province on April 15, 2021. Officials provided no details about the charges he faced or the allegations against him. The lack of transparency for espionage cases is common in China. Most proceedings are held in secret, while prosecutors boast a 99% conviction rate.
“The Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said in a statement to CNN.