China court sentences US citizen to life in prison for espionage

A Chinese court has sentenced a US citizen to life in prison on espionage charges.

The court in the southeastern city of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province handed down the ruling on Monday for the 78-year-old man. He holds permanent residency in Hong Kong and has a US passport.

The Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reports that the man is from Hong Kong and had relocated to the United States.

The newspaper says he served as the head of the Texas branch of the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification, a group supporting the reunification of Taiwan.

The paper also reports that the man had been engaged in campaigns to promote friendship between the US and China, and greeted Chinese President Xi Jinping when he visited the country in 2015.

Chinese national security authorities reportedly detained the man in Suzhou two years ago. But the court did not disclose any details on the charges.