A British man and his American wife are accused of illegally obtaining and selling private information on Chinese nationals.
The trial of Peter Humphrey and Yu Yingzeng, who ran a risk consultancy in Shanghai called ChinaWhys, could be key to a Chinese government bribery investigation into pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.
Here, Peter Humphrey's son Harvey tells ITV News the British firm misled his parents leaving them facing trial in Shanghai.
Harvey Humphrey - the son of British private investigator Peter Humphrey - told ITV News the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline misled his parents, which has meant they’ve spent the last 12 months behind bars in China.
Both Peter Humphrey, and his American wife Yu Yingzeng, ran ChinaWhys, a corporate investigations’ company, in Shanghai.
They were hired by GSK to find out the origins of a smear campaign - which made large scale bribery allegations about the multi-national firm and it’s China boss, Mark Reilly.
GSK insisted that an initial, internal investigation into these corruption claims “did not find evidence to substantiate the specific allegations made in the whistleblower emails."
The couple took the job, and as part of it, both are now accused of illegally obtaining and selling the private information of Chinese citizens and corporations.
Meanwhile, the corruption investigation into GlaxoSmithKline continues, with no trial date yet set for that.
Harvey told me he always had reservations about the industry his father evolved in.
I also spoke to a Chinese private detective, Wei Wujun, who explained that the corporate investigation field comes under little regulation.
But, Harvey maintains that his father "firmly believed in tackling corruption wherever he was."
Today, Humphrey and his wife have appeared at Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court in what’s being described as an “open” trial, yet foreign journalists are not allowed inside the courtroom, only into a separate room where an overhead projector delivers a written feed of the proceedings in Chinese.
Only a photograph, posted online by the court, and taken from behind, showed Humphrey dressed in a black suit, and his wife clad in red. Both were physically held by court bailiffs. We could not see their faces.
This trial is supposed to start and finish in one day.
On two occasions the pair have been paraded on Chinese state television appearing to confess and apologise for breaking Chinese law. Harvey believes that, because of this, their sentences will be reduced.
The maximum jail term for these offences is three years, but both defendants are suffering from ill health and have already served more than 12 months.
Today’s trial could draw a difficult year for the 19-year-old to a close.
Harvey told me that he’s had to transform from a boy to a man in just 12 months, and be responsible for the family’s assets and finances. He hasn’t spoken to his mother or father on the telephone or seen them during this time.
Today, he is allowed to see them, inside the courtroom.
He now has very simple hopes for the next few months. He wants to start his engineering degree at Bristol University in September like a normal student and son, with his mother and father back in the UK with him.
A GlaxoSmithKline spokesman gave the following statement to ITV News: