28 December 2006
Liu Jianhua receives 20-year sentence for "revealing state secrets"; Ching Cheong spends his 57th birthday in prison
(RSF/IFEX) - Journalist Ching Cheong, seriously ill and serving a five-year sentence for "spying", spent his 57th birthday in prison on 22 December 2006, as Reporter Without Borders and the Hong Kong Journalists' Association (HKJA) presented a petition for his release.
The petition for the release of Ching, who has been in custody since April 2005, attracted 3009 signatures. Before handing over the petition, a group from HKJA demonstrated in his support on the streets of Hong Kong.
The association's spokesperson, Serenade Woo, said, "Ching Cheong's health has deteriorated" and that "China should respect human rights."
In a linked case, sociologist Liu Jianhua was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 18 December, on a charge of "revealing state secrets".
In an open letter sent in June to President Hu Jintao, Ching Cheong's wife, Mary Lau, wrote: "Lu Jianhua and Ching Cheong regularly shared information about statements by leaders. They did it to prepare their scientific research or their journalistic interviews. I hope you will understand that whatever they did, they were standing firmly on the side of Chinese people."