Thu, Aug 17, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Chinese academic tried in Beijing court

AFP , BEIJING AND HONG KONG

A leading Chinese academic went on trial yesterday over his alleged links to a Hong Kong-based reporter who is accused of spying for Taiwan, a rights group and media reports said.

Lu Jianhua's (陸建華) trial lasted around 90 minutes at the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court, where Hong Kong reporter Ching Cheong (程翔), 56, was tried on Tuesday, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

The Hong Kong radio station RTHK also reported that Lu, an academic with the government-run Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was in court yesterday and was tried in the same courtroom where Ching appeared.

Hong Kong's Cable TV said Lu was accused of leaking state secrets to Ching.

Lu's wife was not allowed to attend the closed-door trial, the center said, adding that a judge told it last week Lu had indicated he would not hire a lawyer.

Lu is a leading sociologist and was working with Ching, a correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times, when the reporter was arrested in southern China in April last year. Lu was detained after Ching's arrest.

China has accused Ching of spying for Taiwanese intelligence between early 2000 and March last year and says he has confessed. His wife, Mary Lau (劉敏儀), has said her husband is innocent.

Lau previously wrote in an article published in Hong Kong that Lu had asked Ching to gather information for a report he had been commissioned to do by the Chinese government on issues related to Hong Kong.

A verdict Ching's trial will be known in the next few days, a Chinese official in Hong Kong said yesterday.

Li Gang (李剛), deputy director of Beijing's representative office in the territory, gave assurances that Ching's case has been handled according to law and that his legal rights had been protected.

"Exactly when sentencing will be ... I am not sure, but I believe you can expect the outcome in a few days," he told reporters.

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