On the initiative of the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Reporters Without Borders, an international appeal is being launched today (2 June 2005) for the release of Ching Cheong.
The journalistic community must mobilize at once to press for his release. The petition will be sent to the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities.
It can be signed at this web page: www.petition-chingcheong.org
« We, journalists and press freedom activists, call for the immediate release of our colleague Ching Cheong, unfairly detained in China since 22 April 2005. Our colleague, correspondent for the Singapore daily Straits Times, is an experienced and honest reporter who respects journalistic ethics. We reject the accusations of spying brought against him by the Chinese government, which are liable to create confusion and cast suspicion on the entire profession. Ching Cheong was in China to carry out his work as a journalist and for that reason alone. »
The Chinese foreign ministry announced on 31 May that Ching Cheong, a correspondent for the Singapore daily Straits Times had confessed to being a spy in the pay of foreign agencies. The Singapore-resident journalist, who was picked up by Chinese police in Guangzhou, southern China on 22 April, is the holder of a British National Overseas (BNO) passport specific to Hong Kong.