Update: Hong Kong resident convicted of espionage, sentenced to life imprisonment
Published: May 15, 2023 12:23 PM Updated: May 16, 2023 05:45 PM


John Shing-Wan Leung, a Hong Kong resident, was convicted of espionage and sentenced to life imprisonment, deprivation of political rights for life, and confiscation of personal property of 500,000 yuan ($71,700), the Suzhou Intermediate People's Court in Jiangsu Province announced on Monday.
According to information released by the court, Leung, born in 1945, holds a Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card, Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao Residents, and a US passport.
The case soon became a high-profile one after the ruling was released, and some Western media speculated whether the case has anything to do with China-US relations.
Chinese national security experts told the Global Times that the case of Leung is a normal law enforcement action of protecting China's national security, and surely not about relations of the two countries, as some sensational foreign media suggested.
China has the right to put suspects who engage in espionage activities that endanger China's national security on trial, which conforms to international practices, Li Wei, an expert on national security at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Monday.
On April 12, 2021, China's national security authority in Suzhou took compulsory measures against Leung for suspected espionage activities in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedure Law.
The case reminds Hong Kong residents that national security risks still exist, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR Government John Lee Ka-chiu told press on Tuesday.
John noted that though the national security risk in Hong Kong is basically stable, it should not be taken lightly, nor should the territory let its guard down. The 2019 turmoil and "color revolution" is an alarm bell for Hong Kong, Lee said.
The chief executive also said the SAR government has been notified by the mainland's relevant departments about case based on usual practice and will provide assistance if needed.

There were many similar cases and there is no need to interpret this case as a campaign targeting any country or something like that, Li noted.
Previously, a Japanese national was under criminal detention under suspicion of engaging in espionage, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Also, Canadian citizen Michael Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison for espionage and illegal provision of China's state secrets to foreign entities.
On April 26, 2023, the 14th National People's Congress Standing Committee passed an amendment to the Counter-Espionage Law.
The revised law refines the definition of espionage activities, explicitly categorizing "collaborating with spy organizations and their agents" and "conducting cyber-attacks against state organs, confidential-related units, or critical information infrastructure" as espionage activities. The revised law will come into effect on July 1.