The Beijing Higher People’s Court upheld Ching’s espionage conviction in a closed hearing on November 24. Ching, a Hong Kong reporter for The Straits Times, was sentenced to five years in prison in August.
The court also upheld rulings depriving him of political rights for a year and confiscating personal property worth 300,000 yuan (US$38,000). Xinhua quoted an unidentified appellate judge as saying that the August verdict was “accurate in application of the law and appropriate in meting out punishment.”
Ching was detained in Guangzhou in April 2005 while attempting to meet with a source to obtain transcripts of interviews with the late former president Zhao Ziyang. He was held under house arrest in Beijing without access to a lawyer or his family until a formal arrest order was issued in August 2005 on espionage charges. He was charged with taking payoffs in exchange for gathering information for Taiwan.