Public trial in China for Glaxo Briton and wife

A British investigator and his American wife who worked for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline are to stand trial in China on charges of illegally obtaining information on Chinese citizens, court officials said.

The Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People’s Court said that Peter Humphrey and Yingzeng Yu will face a “public trial” on August 8.

Authorities originally told British and US diplomats that they would be barred from the trial because it involved secret information, but later reversed that decision.

Mr Humphrey and Ms Yu were detained last year and accused of improperly obtaining information such as the home addresses of Chinese citizens for reports sold to corporate clients.

The couple worked for Glaxo, which faces an investigation into allegations that it bribed doctors to use its medicines. Authorities have given no indication whether the two cases are connected.

Meanwhile, China’s ruling Communist Party has announced it is launching an investigation into former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, who was once one of the country’s most feared leaders.

A party watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said on its website that it was investigating Mr Zhou for serious violations of party discipline.

Until his retirement in 2012, Mr Zhou was one of nine leaders in the party’s ruling inner circle, whose members had until now been considered off-limits for prosecution in an unwritten rule aimed at preserving party unity.

The announcement ended months of speculation over Mr Zhou’s fate that had built up as several high-ranking officials came under investigation.

n Pressure is being stepped up on foreign technology companies in China as the country’s anti-monopoly agency announced an investigation into Microsoft. The agency said it opened a case in June after complaints that Microsoft violated an anti-monopoly law by failing to publish all documentation related to its Windows operating system and Office software.