China court denies espionage appeal for Singapore reporter Melissa Bancroft at 7:32 PM ET
[JURIST] A Beijing court has denied an appeal hearing for Ching Cheong [advocacy website; SCMP Q/A], who was convicted in August on charges of spying for Taiwan. Ching, the chief China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times [media website], was sentenced to five years in jail [JURIST report] by a Chinese court in August after being convicted of selling state secrets [BBC report]. While the decision not to hold an appeal hearing may be because Beijing's Supreme People's Court is satisfied with the prosecution's case and found the evidence sufficient, Ching's lawyers believe the denial was based on an absence of evidence [Asia News report] pointing to Ching's guilt as well as the government's strict classification of all politically relevant information as "state secret."
Ching's wife maintains her husband's innocence and suspects that he was accused [JURIST report] because he obtained politically sensitive unpublished interviews with late Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang [BBC profile], who was purged for opposing the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre [BBC backgrounder]. Ching's lawyer expects the trial to conclude by the end of November. The South China Morning Post has more.
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