[JURIST] The Chinese government on Tuesday announced the release on parole of Hong Kong reporter Ching Cheong [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Ching, sentenced to five years in prison [JURIST report] in 2006 for allegedly selling "state secrets and intelligence" to Taiwan [BBC report], was the chief China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times [media website].
In November 2006, the Beijing High People's Court turned down an appeal [JURIST report] by Ching, finding that the trial court's ruling was "accurate in application of the law and appropriate in meting out punishment. Ching's wife, Mary Lau, has maintained her husband's innocence and believes that he was tried because he obtained politically sensitive, unpublished interviews with late Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang [BBC profile], who was purged for opposing the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown [BBC backgrounder]. AP has more.