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China sociologist on trial on state secrets charges

[JURIST] Lu Jianhua, a Chinese sociologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences [academic website, English version] accused of an unspecified crime involving state secrets, went on trial Wednesday at the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court. Though the facts of the closed-door case were not disclosed to the public, Lu's wife Qu Ligiu told reporters that she suspects the trial is related to the trial of Ching Cheong [advocacy website; Wikipedia profile], chief China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times [media website]. Ching's trial, on charges of selling state secrets and spying for Taiwan [BBC report], began behind closed doors [JURIST report] Tuesday.

Upon Ching's arrest [JURIST report] in April 2005, the Chinese Foreign Ministry [official website, English version], said "Ching admitted that in recent years he engaged in intelligence-gathering activities on the mainland on instructions from foreign intelligence agencies and accepted huge amounts of spying fees." Ching's wife, however, says her husband has been accused of stealing state secrets because he obtained unpublished interviews with late Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang [Wikipedia profile]. A source close to Zhao's family said the authorities were determined to prevent the publication of the interviews of the former leader, purged for opposing the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre [BBC backgrounder], because it would undermine the legitimacy of the current leadership. Li Gang, a Hong Kong official, said Ching's verdict will be revealed in a few days. Reuters has more.

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