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Mr. Ching Cheong

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will urge the authorities of the People’s Republic of China to bring the detained British journalist Mr. Ching Cheong to a fair and public trial as soon as possible; and if she will request the Chinese authorities to ensure that (a) the trial is held in public and (b) Mr. Ching has legal representation. (80857)

Although Mr. Ching Cheong holds a British National Overseas (BN(O)) passport he did not use this passport to enter China and he is deemed by the Chinese authorities to be a Chinese national. We have made representations, through our embassy in Beijing and our consulate in Guangzhou, to the Chinese authorities in respect of Mr. Ching’s case and we will continue to do so at every appropriate opportunity. We have serious and long-standing concerns over the use of arbitrary detention in China, inadequate fair trial guarantees and the treatment of prisoners, and we make these concerns known to the Chinese authorities. However, as Mr. Ching has been charged with espionage, while he will have legal representation, his trial will take place in a closed session in accordance with current Chinese law.