By Lorraine Longhi
A Fountain Hills woman has been detained by Chinese officials for three months, and her family and friends have been given no answers about the circumstances surrounding her arrest.
Shiping "Sue" Peterson, a massage therapist living in Fountain Hills, was arrested by Chinese authorities Aug. 29 on suspicion of the "crime of provocation" after her flight landed in Shanghai, according to Peterson's friend Dina Galassini.
The U.S. State Department confirmed Monday that Peterson was being detained in China.
"We continue to monitor her case, and we have been providing all appropriate assistance to her and her family, including visits to Ms. Peterson in the detention facility," a State Department spokesperson said.
In a statement emailed by Galassini, Peterson's son, Dawei "David" Jiang, said he and his mother had flown to China for a funeral service for Peterson's father.
On arrival, David and his mother were taken off the airplane and taken to a room where Peterson's phone was confiscated. David later was told by the U.S. Embassy that she would be detained for a "crime of provocation."
"My mom asked why are they taking her and they said they would tell her later," he wrote. "They let me go."
Galassini said that Peterson never expressed any fear about going back to China and had traveled to China in 2017.