Beijing, China. A Chinese court on Tuesday sentenced a US citizen to three years in prison for espionage but then ordered she be deported, her lawyer said, in a case that has exacerbated US-Chinese relations.
An American national,Sandy Phan-Gillis, who has Chinese ancestry and is a US citizen, was arrested in March 2015 while about to leave mainland China for the former Portuguese colony of Macau, and had been held without charges since then.
She had plead guilty during the trial in the southwestern city of Nanning and was not planning to appeal, lawyer Shang Baojun told reporters.Phan-Gillis had been in regular contact with U.S. officials while in detention, Shang said.
“She will probably be deported to the US soon, but we do not know the exact date yet,” Shang said, adding that she was being held in a police jail in the meantime.
Shang said that because the case touched upon “state secrets”, he could not reveal details of the ruling until the official verdict had been released, which was expected within the next five days.The government has not released details of the charges against Phan-Gillis.
The case has underlined tensions between the US and China as American espionage attempts inside China and Russia have greatly increased over the last decade intelligence experts state.