WASHINGTON: US officials urged Beijing on Friday to guarantee “fair and transparent” legal proceedings for an American national held for more than a year in China on suspicion of espionage.
Sandy Phan-Gillis, a businesswoman, was detained in March 2015 as she traveled to Macau following a visit to mainland China by a trade delegation from Houston, Texas.
“Chinese authorities have informed us they will bring a case against Ms Phan-Gillis” before a court in Nanning, in southern China, said Elizabeth Trudeau, a State Department spokeswoman.
“We urge China to resolve this case expeditiously and provide a fair and transparent legal process in accordance with the local law and in a manner that also respects international human rights,” said Trudeau.
Phan-Gillis stands accused of espionage and stealing state secrets for allegedly passing intelligence to a third party, according to a United Nations working group on arbitrary detention that cited unnamed government sources.
The group, which called for her release, said that international fair trial standards had not been respected in the case.
“We also ask that China ensure that Ms Phan-Gillis continue to have full access to an attorney,” said Trudeau, adding that Phan-Gillis had received consular assistance since the start of her detention.
The most recent visit was on June 20, Trudeau said.
During a news conference last week, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Phan-Gillis had been held because she was suspected of compromising national security. AFP