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IFJ and HKJA call for fair trial in case of Hong Kong journalist accused of spying

(IFJ/HKJA/IFEX) - The following is a 5 August 2005 press release:

World Journalists call for Fair Trial in "Spying Case" of Hong Kong Journalist Ching Cheong

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned over the decision by the Beijing National Security Bureau to formally accuse Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong of spying.

On Friday August 5, 2005 the Xinhua News Agency announced that the Beijing National Security Bureau formally accused Ching Cheong of spying.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the Beijing National Security Bureau is alleging that Ching admitted to acting as an intelligence gatherer for the Taiwan National Security Bureau from 2000 to March 2005. It is alleged that Ching set up channels between mainland China and Hong Kong, gathering economic and military intelligence and selling it to a Taiwan agent in return for millions of Hong Kong dollars, thus putting the national security of China in jeopardy.

"The decision by the Beijing National Security Bureau to charge Ching Cheong with spying will have chilling affects on the media's coverage of mainland China," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

The IFJ and its Hong Kong affiliate, the Hong Kong Journalists' Association (HKJA), are deeply concerned for Ching Cheong who has been held in custody by mainland Chinese authorities since April 2005.

The IFJ joins the HKJA in their plea for the Chinese authorities to be fair, open and consistent in the rule of law when dealing with Ching Cheong's case. Otherwise the consequences for the actions by the Chinese Government are chilling," said Warren.

In addition, the IFJ and HKJA demand that the Chinese Government respect his civil rights, including the right to access his relatives, legal representation and aid from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries around the world.

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