American declared guilty of spying after two years in detention – China politics and current affairs news from April 25, 2017
A years-long saga concerning Phan Phan-Gillis, a U.S. businesswoman also known as Sandy, who was accused of espionage and detained over two years ago, seems to be concluding: The New York Times reports (paywall) that on April 25, a judge in southern China finally declared her guilty and ordered her to be deported. However, as a written judgment has yet to be passed down — it is expected in the coming days — it is unclear if she will have to carry out a prison sentence before leaving the country. Her husband, Jeff Gillis, has advocated on her behalf from the U.S. throughout her detention. In August 2016, the Times reported (paywall) that he had appealed directly to President Barack Obama to raise the issue at last fall’s G20 summit in Hangzhou, China. Though U.S. diplomats had repeatedly pressed the Chinese to drop charges on Phan-Gillis, no information appears to be publicly available on what, if anything, came of these efforts or whether President Obama himself got involved.
The Chinese government has recently doubled down on efforts to root out spies in the country, offering cash rewards of up to $73,000 to residents in Beijing who inform on foreign espionage activity. State media also promoted the scheme with a propaganda video, which you can view translated and subtitled by SupChina here.
Air China to resume flights to Pyongyang after three-week suspension / SCMP
Air China, the only Chinese airline with regular services to North Korea (which began in 2008), “will resume the flights between Beijing and Pyongyang on May 5 after a three-week suspension…amid fears that conditions facing the Korean Peninsula have become more volatile because of Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic tests.… But an Air China spokesman said at that time that the suspension was mainly on ticket sales and was only temporary.”
Ideological purge hits China universities with western ties / Financial Times (paywall)
The Party is conducting inspections at 29 top schools over a six-week period, searching for corruption and breaches of “political discipline.” The inspections were first announced in February this year.
Opinion: Why China’s new aircraft carrier should worry India / Bloomberg
“The Indian Navy has gone all-in on a strategy that emphasizes carrier battle groups,” yet India, with only one aircraft carrier, will still find itself far behind China’s navy when it commissions its second carrier, writes Mihir Sharma.
China’s austerity crackdown punishes nearly 20 percent fewer officials in Q1 / Financial Times (paywall)
Authorities may be “taking a softer approach to graft” ahead of the 19th National Congress elections for Party leadership change this fall.
- China indicts former statistics bureau director Wang for bribery / Bloomberg
- Is Philippines offering Beijing an olive branch over South China Sea? / SCMP
- Japan’s ruling party heavyweight to attend China’s New Silk Road summit / Reuters