Tue, Aug 15, 2006 - Page 1 News List

`Straits Times' reporter to go on trial today in China

AGENCIES , BEIJING

A Singapore reporter accused by China of spying for Taiwan is likely to be tried today, a Hong Kong-based rights group said.

Ching Cheong (程翔), a Hong Kong-based China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times, was detained on a visit to China in April last year and later charged with espionage for Taiwan.

Ching's family and the newspaper have rejected the charges and called for his release.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy cited an unnamed Beijing prosecutor as saying Ching would be tried today.

Ching's case is one of several that have highlighted China's harsh controls on the media and the flow of information.

Zhao Yan (趙岩), a New York Times researcher accused of providing state secrets to foreigners, remains in detention awaiting a verdict in his case.

Beijing academic Lu Jianhua (陸建華), is also likely to be tried this week in connection with Ching, the center said. Lu is a sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Last Friday, the Xihu District Court in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, sentenced an environmental activist, Tan Kai (譚凱), to a year and a half in prison for "illegally obtaining state secrets," Radio Free Asia reported.

Tan belonged to the banned "Green Watch" environmental group. Last year, he helped farmers in Zhejiang protest against factory pollution threatening their crops and health.

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