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Newsline: US embassy did not comment after citizen sentenced to life in prison for espionage in China

The U.S. embassy declined to comment after a 78-year-old U.S. citizen and Hong Kong resident was on Monday convicted of espionage and sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in eastern China. A U.S. embassy spokesperson said in an emailed statement in response to Reuters that it was aware of the case, but due to privacy considerations had no further comment. “The Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the spokesperson added. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/us-citizen-sentenced-life-prison-espionage-chinese-court-2023-05-15/) John Shing-wan Leung was also stripped of his political rights after a brief trial on Monday, the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court said in the statement. The court added that Leung was a Hong Kong resident and a U.S. passport holder. The court gave no specifics of his alleged offence, but said: “Suzhou’s National Security Bureau began investigating Leung on April 15, 2021, on suspicion of spying.” The sentencing comes amid growing tensions between China and the U.S. on a number of fronts, from accusations of Chinese spying and human rights abuses, to U.S. efforts to build up military alliances to curb China’s ambitions toward Taiwan and in the Pacific.

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