says GSK-linked trial being handled according to law
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[July 08, 2014]
BEIJING (Reuters) - The
trial of a couple arrested last year following work they
did for British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC in China
will be handled according to the law, China's foreign
ministry said on Tuesday, brushing off U.S. concern
about the case.
The trial of British investigator Peter Humphrey and his American
wife Yu Yingzeng, set for Aug. 7, will be closed to the public, two
family friends with knowledge of the matter said last week.
The U.S. embassy in Beijing said it was worried its diplomats would
not be allowed to attend Yu's trial, adding a political dimension to
the case, which could become another thorny issue between the two
economic powers, especially as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is
visiting China this week.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked whether China's
handling of the case contravened diplomatic conventions, said there
was "ample legal basis" for how the government was approaching the
"China's judicial authorities are handling the relevant case
according to law," Hong told a daily news briefing. "China is a
country with rule of law."
He declined to elaborate.
The British embassy has also said it was "engaging" the Chinese
authorities about the need for a transparent and fair trial.
The trial of Humphrey and Yu is part of a tangled web of probes into
drugmaker GSK, which Chinese police accused last year of funnelling
up to 3 billion yuan ($482 million) through travel agencies to bribe
doctors and officials in China.
ChinaWhys, the risk consultancy run by the couple, was employed by
GSK in April 2013 to investigate an ex-employee suspected of sending
anonymous emails, including the circulation of an intimate video of
former GSK China head Mark Reilly with his girlfriend, as well as
emails containing allegations of widespread bribery at the British
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Three months later, authorities detained Humphrey and Yu. Chinese
authorities have not openly made a link between GSK and the case
Reilly has been charged along with other GSK executives of
widespread bribery and corruption, and could face decades in a
Corruption is endemic in the Chinese pharmaceutical market, where
bribes are often used to smooth business ties with underpaid doctors
and hospitals which rely on drug sales for over 40 percent of their
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by
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