In China, Hong Kong reporter’s case heads to prosecutors

New York, December 28, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is disturbed that a criminal case against veteran Hong Kong reporter Ching Cheong could be handed over to prosecutors in mainland China by the end of next week.

Ching, a correspondent for the Singapore-based daily The Straits Times, was detained in the mainland on April 22 and has been held without trial or access to a lawyer on suspicion of spying for Taiwan. His wife, Mary Lau, has said that he was detained while seeking transcripts of interviews with ousted former leader Zhao Ziyang, who died in January following 15 years of house arrest.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang told reporters today that he had discussed the case during meetings with Chinese leaders this week. “I understand that the matter is being actively looked into and the case will be referred to the prosecution department before January 6,” Tsang was quoted as saying in international news reports.

“Authorities have never brought forward any evidence of wrongdoing by Ching or allowed him access to a lawyer, yet the prospect that he may face charges looks increasingly likely,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “We join our colleagues in Hong Kong and around the world who believe that Ching is being held unjustly and we call for his release.”