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US citizen and business woman Sandy Phan-Gillis, held in china since 2015 charged with violating its national security

A Houston, Texas, businesswoman held in China since March last year is expected to be charged with violating its national security, Newsweek reported on Thursday, citing a U.S. State Department official.

Phan Gillis worked in Shenzan province of peoples Republic of China as North American representative NAOS

Sandy Phan-Gillis [pictured centre], who has Chinese ancestry and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested in March 2015 while about to leave China for Macau and has been held without charges since then.

“Chinese authorities have informed us that they will bring a case against Ms. Phan-Gillis to the Nanning Intermediate People’s Court,” An intermediate people's court, Chinese: 中级人民法院 ,is the second lowest local people's court in China. According to the Organic Law of the People's Courts of the People's Republic of China, the intermediate people's courts handle relevant important local cases in the first instance and hear appeal cases from the basic people's courts.

The US State Department official Elizabeth Trudeau said she had no information on the charges or date.

“We urge China to resolve this case expeditiously and to ensure that Ms. Phan-Gillis continues to have full access to an attorney,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the case’s sensitivity, Newsweek  Trudeau went on to say.

A Washington spokeswoman for the State Department said it was looking into the report.

If confirmed, the charges would come amid heightened U.S.-China tension following a ruling on Tuesday by an international court in The Hague that China had no historic claim to large areas of the South China Sea and had violated the Philippines' economic and sovereign rights. Beijing has rejected the finding.

China also said last week said U.N. authorities should respect its judicial independence after a U.N. agency said Phan-Gillis had been detained arbitrarily.

In a statement that cited an unidentified source, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said Phan-Gillis had not been allowed to speak to a lawyer or family members regularly and had recently been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.

China's state secrets law is extremely broad, encompassing everything from industrial data to top leaders' birthdays. Information can also be declared a state secret retroactively.

There is no independent oversight of China's law enforcement authorities or courts, which answer to the ruling Communist Party.

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