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The White House has contacted China’s Foreign Ministry over the detention of an American businesswoman accused of spying, a spokesman said on Tuesday, in a case that blew up just as President Xi Jinping began a visit to the United States.

Sandy Phan-Gillis of Houston, Texas, has been held by Chinese authorities for about six months under suspicion of spying and stealing state secrets, according to a statement from her family released this week.

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