A Houston businesswoman who was detained in China two years ago as she accompanied city officials on a routine business trip was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on spying charges Tuesday.
The judge presiding over the closed-door trial in Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi region in southern China, said Sandy Phan-Gillis would be deported, but he didn’t specify when.
That leaves open the possibility that she could be credited with having already served more than half her sentence and removed to the United States soon, according to a person familiar with the case who declined to be identified due to its sensitive nature. But she could also be forced to complete her term.
The Chinese Consulate in Houston didn’t immediately respond to comment. The State Department confirmed the sentencing, but said it remained concerned about her welfare.
“We are in favor of any result…