On the 19th of March 2015, an American woman, Sandy Phan-Gillis, who was believed by Chinese officials to be a spy, was stopped at an airport checkpoint in China and has been in detention for six months. The matter became public when she was formally arrested in September.
Phan-Gillis, the president of the Houston-Shenzhen Sister Cities Association, a program encouraging friendship and networking between the cities of Houston, U.S.A and Shenzhen, China, arrived in China in March with several other people including Ed Gonzalez, a Houston council member. They travelled to China for a trade delegation and had been there for about a week. They were on their way back when Phan-Gillis was stopped at the checkpoint. Gonzalez says they went through the checkpoint individually but no one noticed her absence until they were on the other side. He went on to say that they found her behavior out of the ordinary, but later received a message from her informing them she was attending to a “personal matter” and was therefore, staying behind. The message dismissed any worrying thoughts they had about the matter, due to the fact that Phan-Gillis had visited China over 50 times and was quite familiar with the country. The delegates, excluding Phan-Gillis returned to the U.S.…show more content… So far there has been no report of Obama or Jinping addressing the problem. Gillis reports to have last spoken with his wife on March 23, when she called to inform him that she had decided to extend the duration of her stay in China. Gillis says he believes Phan-Gillis is being intimidated. “I am picturing them with the phone up to her head saying, ‘This is what you can say,’” her husband tells NBC