China has formally arrested an American businesswoman, accusing her of “endangering national security.” Phan Phan-Gillis, also known as Sandy to family and friends, was detained on March 20 while traveling to China as part of a trade delegation led by Houston’s acting mayor Ed González. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has officially confirmed Phan-Gillis’ arrest.
She was detailed six months ago
The confirmation comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting the United States this week. Her husband Jeff Gillis told the Houston Chronicle that he learned of her detention only after he became concerned and contacted the U.S. State Department on March 31. China had informed the State Department about her detention only a week earlier on March 20.
Mr Gillis said he didn’t publicize his wife’s detention earlier because he thought it would jeopardize the chances of her release. But he has received little assistance from the U.S. and Chinese authorities. Jeff Gillis said he decided to go public about the issue now as he wanted to draw attention to her detention as Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting the United States.
China wants ‘other countries’ to respect its move
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it hoped “other countries” would respect its move to protect its national security. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Sandy Gillis was in good health. The 55-year old Vietnamese-American of Chinese descent had mysteriously disappeared when crossing the border from the southern city of Zhuhai to Macau special administrative region.
Jeff Gillis said the idea of his wife being a spy was ludicrous. After her detention, Sandy was moved to a detention facility in the city of Nanning, where she was formally arrested a few days ago. Jeff Gillis has now urged the State Department and the President to help win her release. The State Department said Sandy Gillis has been visited by American consular officers six times since her detention on March 20.