China has detained a reporter for the Singapore newspaper The Straits Times
because of his attempts to obtain manuscripts of secret interviews
with a former communist leader who opposed the Tiananmen Square massacre. In the second incident of a foreign reporter being arrested in China in the
past year, the reporter's wife, despite warnings not to disclose the arrest to the public, revealed that her husband has been held incommunicado for
5 weeks and is to be charged with "stealing core state secrets."
Security agents apprehended Ching Cheong, chief China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, on April 22 in the southern city of
Guangzhou, where he was scheduled to meet a source who had promised to give him a copy of the politically sensitive manuscript, according to the
journalist's wife, Mary Lau.
If charged, Ching would be the second journalist for a foreign newspaper arrested by the government of President Hu Jintao in the past year. Zhao Yan,
a researcher in the Beijing bureau of the New York Times, was arrested by the State Security Ministry in September on similar charges and has been
held incommunicado without trial since.
The arrests could have a chilling effect on foreign news operations in China. The Chinese government often jails Chinese journalists and writers --
the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders says there are more journalists in prison in China than anywhere else in the world -- but in the past it
has generally refrained from arresting individuals employed by foreign news agencies.
His detention could prompt an outcry in Hong Kong, where residents have complained since the return of the former British colony to Chinese rule in
1997 about their lack of consular protections when traveling on the mainland. Though China has granted Hong Kong residents some special rights and
privileges, they are treated as Chinese citizens under international law.
Ching's detention appears to be related to a high-priority government investigation aimed at preventing the publication of a series of secret
interviews conducted over the past several years with Zhao Ziyang, the former premier and party chief who opposed the Tiananmen massacre and died in
January after nearly 16 years under house arrest.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Again, this sort of incident highlights exactly why Taiwan doesn't want to reunite with the mainland, and why the citizens of Hong Kong are terrified
of losing their freedoms.
Zhao Yan, a researcher for The New York Times, has been imprisoned incommunicado since September last year.
Being within China myself, the above article is the only story I can find that I can access. The Internet censors are hard at work here blocking all
websites carrying the story.
If you want to know more about the subject of the interviews, Zhao Ziyang, I suggest you read
The Tiananmen Papers
collection of leaked and translated transcripts of Communist Party leaders' meetings before and during the massacre.
What they reveal is the paranoia that gripped the Chinese rulers when the death of Hu Yaobang sparked public demonstrations that showed no
signs of abating. The biggest villain appears to be former Premier Li Peng, the so-called "Butcher of Beijing," who conspires to bring about an
aggressive end to the "turmoil." Yet it's Deng Xiaoping, who, although officially long retired, still wields the most power, as he and his fellow
Elders intervene to enforce martial law. The moderate Zhao Ziyang favors negotiation and dialogue, but as a consequence is crushed and replaced by
Jiang Zemin, the present leader, plucked from obscurity and appointed in defiance of procedure. The gripping scenario that unfolds, in compulsive
detail, is akin to parents bickering over the best way to control unruly children, with carrot or stick.