4.jpg Dear Human Rights Supporter,

Journalist Ching Cheong has been released!

Thank you for all your support of human rights in China.


Visual Artists Guild join with all human rights organizations and activists around the world in celebrating Ching Cheong's release a day before the Lunar New Year's eve when Chinese families traditionally get together.  Please see Reporters Without Borders' press release below. 

On July 20, 2006 Visual Artists Guild organized a ten cities 24 hours beginning in Melbourne, Australia, through Hong Kong, Europe, Canada, U.S. and ending in Los Angeles appealing for Ching Cheong's release.  A video about Ching Cheong can still be viewed at http://www.visual-artists-guild.org/VAG/Pages/_start.html

Ann Lau, VAG

Visual Artists Guild continue to appeal for the release of the following

1.jpg Shuying Li, mother of Yaning Liu
Crime:  Falun Gong practitioner

2.jpgChen Guangcheng
Crime: Lawyer helping pregnant woman. One of 2005 Time magazine most influential person

3.jpgShi Tao 
Crime – reporter, Yahoo! apologized to U.S. Congress for collaborating with China authority in putting Shi Tao in jail

4.jpg RELEASED!!!
Ching Cheong

5.jpgZhou Heng
Crime - accepted bibles as donations from South Korea

(Photo not available)  Father Wen Daoxin
Crime: underground Roman Catholic 

7.jpgBishop Jia  Zhiguo  
Crime: underground Roman Catholic

8.jpgGao Zhisheng
Crime: human rights lawyer who defended underground Christians, coal miners, petitioners, home-demolition victims, and Falun Gong adherents

Reporters WithoutBorders/Reporters sans frontières Pressrelease www.rsf-chinese.org
5 February 2008
Ching Cheong'srelease hailed, although it is eclipsed by Hu Jia's arrest and LuGengsong's sentencing

Reporters Without Borders is relieved that Hong-Kong basedjournalist Ching Cheong, a correspondent of Singapore'sStraits Times newspaper, was freed on parole this morning from aprison in the southern city of Guangzhou where he was serving afive-year sentence on a spying charge. He arrived back in Hong Kong atmidday. Arrested on 22 April 2005, he had just over two years of hissentence still to serve.

"Ching should never have been arrested and imprisoned," ReportersWithout Borders said. "His release is very welcome, especially as itwill allow him to celebrate the Chinese New Year with his family, buthe is still not completely free. The Chinese government shouldcontinue down this road by releasing, before the start of the OlympicGames, all of the 32 journalists and 51 cyber-dissidents who arecurrently held."
The press freedom organisationadded: "We pay tribute to the extraordinary efforts made byChing's family, his friends of the Ching Cheong Concern Group and thejournalistic community in Hong Kong, who always defended his innocencein the face of the Chinese government's unjustaccusations."

Ching's release must not be allowed to divert attention from theplight of human rights activist Hu Jia, who has been held since27 December on a charge of "inciting subversion of state authority,"or from the four-year prison sentence passed yesterday on writer LuGengsong in the eastern city of Hangzhou on the same charge.

Li Changqing, the former editor of Fuzhou Daily, wasfreed on 2 February on completing a three-year sentence for"spreading alarmist reports."

Mak Chai-ming of the Ching Cheong Concern Group told Reporters WithoutBorders he was "very happy" about Ching's release and hopedChing would now be able to explain the circumstances and reasons forhis arrest. The Hong Kong Journalists Association said it hoped thiskind of arrest would not recur. The management of the StraitsTimes said it was "delighted by this long-awaitedrelease."

When a Reporters Without Borders representative met with Ching'swife, Mary Lau, in Hong Kong in December, she described his prisonconditions: "He is in a cell with 12 other inmates, most of themcriminals serving long sentences. There are two factories in theprison. He has to work eight hours a day, with additional hours twicea week, until 9 pm. He makes police uniforms. The prisoners are notpaid."

Lau added: "Ching had a problem with high blood pressure before hisarrest, but it flared up only two or three times a year. Now he has itall the time. He is suffering as result of the military discipline inthe prison. He has lost 15 kilos since his arrest. You already knowthat the first month, when he was held in Beijing, was extremelytough. The way he was treated could be regarded as mentaltorture."

Ching has had heart and stomach problems, and doctors reportedlydiscovered a duodenal ulcer. He was hospitalised on more than oneoccasion, but the family was not told until several weeks later.

The holder of a "British National Overseas" passport, Ching wasarrested on 22 April 2005 while visiting Guangzhou and was sentencedon 31 August 2006 to five years in prison and a fine of 60,000 eurosfor allegedly spying for Taiwan. The official news agencyXinhua published a report claiming the Ching sold business,political and military information to Taiwanese agents for millions ofdollars between 2000 and 2005.

Ching worked from 1974 to June 1989 for the Hong Kong-based dailyWen Wei Po, which supports the Beijing government. He resignedafter the Tiananmen Square massacre and set up an independentpolitical magazine called Contemporary. He joined theSingapore-based Straits Times in 1996. He has written manyarticles and books about the Communist Party of China, Taiwan and HongKong.

Reporters Without Borders and the Hong Kong Journalists Associationlaunched an appeal for Ching's release on 2 June 2005. The petition,which can be accessed at www.petition-chingcheong.org,had been signedby more than 30,000 people.