The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has voiced its frustration at a Beijing court’s decision to not hold a hearing on Ching Cheong’s appeal against his conviction for spying, for which he is currently serving a five-year jail sentence.
“In another exasperating decision, the Chinese judicial system has again proved its disregard for just and reasonable processes, and denied Ching the public appeal hearing he is reasonably entitled to,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
“This decision has unfairly deprived Ching of his rightful chance to put forward his case for appeal, and disturbingly indicates the court has no interest in hearing further information from the case, ” Warren said.
“The IFJ sincerely hopes this does not mean the court has already settled on a decision to maintain the original verdict,” he said.
Ching, the former chief China correspondent of Singapore's The Straits Times, was jailed in August on, what the IFJ has always maintained were, trumped up charges of spying.
He has continued to face difficulty in proving his innocence, with his appeal reportedly postponed several times by the court, before this latest decision was announced.
“The terrible fact is that this is not an isolated case. More than 30 journalists are currently in jail in China for doing nothing more than their jobs,” the IFJ President said.
“The IFJ demands a complete, fair and public appeal hearing for Ching, and we reiterate our calls for the Chinese government to put an end to jailing journalists as a way of stifling freedom of expression,” Warren said.
The IFJ, the organisation representing over 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries, along with its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association, and press freedom and human rights organisations worldwide, have consistently campaigned for Ching’s release.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries