12/03/2021 06:07:36 pm

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U.S. Concerned Over Closed GSK-Linked Trial of American

GSK China

(Photo : REUTERS)

The U.S. voiced concerns on Friday over China's intentions to conduct a private trial of detained British investigator Peter Humphrey and his American wife Yu Yingzeng who were arrested last year for their work with GlaxoSmithKline.

According to Reuters, the Aug. 7 trial will be closed to the public, barring the couple's 19-year-old son and U.S. and British officials from attending.

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Nolan Barkhouse, spokesman of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, said the U.S. government is concerned about the private hearing.

"We are concerned that consular officers will not be allowed to attend Ms. Yu's trial in August 2014," Barkhouse said.

He cited a 1982 bilateral consular convention between the U.S. and China that allows consular officials to attend such trials.

Likewise, the British embassy has voiced that it is seeking for a fair and transparent trial.

In a daily briefing, Chinese Ministry spokesman Hong Lei cited that it had "ample legal basis" for its closed trial decision and said that the judicial authorities would handle it "according to the law." Hong declined to elaborate on the matter.

The couple was arrested last year shortly after ChinaWhys, Humphrey's company, was hired by GSK in April 2013 to investigate a former employee suspected of whistle-blowing. The said employee was alleged to have sent emails uncovering an elaborate GSK bribery scheme, including a leaked sex video of GSK-China chief Mark Reilly.

As of this report, it is still unclear why Chinese authorities have detained the couple.

However, an article by the Telegraph suggests that ChinaWhy's investigation into former GSK employee Vivian Shi may have been the reason.

It added that the trial was kept closed to protect Shi's privacy.

Shi, the daughter of a former high-ranking Communist official believed to be the adviser of Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, was suspected by Reilly as the whistle-blower, according to the article.

ChinaWhy's investigation into Shi had allegedly led to their arrest after the latter got hold of their investigation report.

Humphrey, who had not mentioned the name of the suspected whistle-blower, said they were arrested, and their office shut down ten days after they were informed by GSK that the former employee had seen their report.

Humphrey firmly believes that the suspect is the actual whistle-blower.

Meanwhile, Shi has denied the allegations against her.

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