Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Beijing Frees Reporter 'Spy'

Imprisoned as a spy for Taiwan, Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong is released after serving about half of a five-year sentence

The release of Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong from Chinese prison today [Feb. 5] is wonderful news for him and his family [and his newspaper, the Singapore Straits Times.] But don't for one minute think that it reflects a wider trend of loosening by Beijing on dissidents. If anything, the government is clamping down even more in the lead up to the Olympics.

According to Human Rights Watch, China is still holding 28 journalists, and hundreds of other dissidents, who have been tried and convicted under various ambiguous charges. One of the most egregious recent examples of this was the high profile arrest of Chinese blogger Hu Jia at the end of December. More than one month after 30 policemen seized him from his Beijing home, his family was finally notified on Jan 31 that he was being held "on charges of inciting subversion of state power."