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Transfer of Ching Cheong case to state prosecutors increases likelihood he will be charged with spying, says CPJ

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ press release:

CHINA: Investigators hand Ching Cheong's case to prosecutors

New York, January 5, 2006 - The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the continuing prosecution of Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong, whose case has been handed by investigators to state prosecutors. This increases the likelihood that Ching will be charged with spying for Taiwan, his wife Mary Lau told CPJ. The investigation period for his case ended on December 30.

Ching, China correspondent for the Singapore-based daily The Straits Times, has been held since April 22, 2005 in Beijing without charges or defense counsel. He was detained while seeking transcripts of interviews with ousted former leader Zhao Ziyang, Lau said. Zhao spent 15 years under house arrest for opposing the military crackdown at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

"Ching Cheong's detention for eight months without access to a lawyer is a gross violation of due process," said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. "The Chinese authorities have not produced a shred of evidence against this respected journalist and should release him immediately."

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpj.org.

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