Meeting The Straits Times reporter Ching Cheong (程翔)

Sunday, 29 April, 2012

Dinner with Ching Cheong 程翔 pix 03

It was my honour and pleasure to meet and have dinner with Singapore’s The Straits Times reporter Ching Cheong (程翔) tonight. Quoting Wikipedia,

“He is best known for having been detained by the People’s Republic of China on allegations of spying for Taiwan. He was imprisoned from April 2005 to February 2008, spending more than 1000 days in prison.[1] Human rights advocates and Chinese patriots called for his release saying the charges were groundless. Throughout the process, he was viciously accused, deplorably defamed (falsely accused of having a mistress) and unreasonably imprisoned.”

I remember during Ching‘s groundless and unreasonable imprisonment, the media reports alway emphasize that he is a Chinese patriot and what had the Chinese government became when they put him in prison! This excerpt from “ST journalist recounts ordeal in China prison” really touched me.

Background Story – BITTERSWEET FAMILY REUNION

I [Ching Cheong] looked around and realised that father was not among the family members present.

At first, I thought that perhaps father had stayed at home as he was weak and had problems moving about. I thought that one of my siblings would be bringing him over when dinner was ready to start.

So I asked: ‘Who is going to get father?’

It was only then that mother told me that father had passed away on May 20, 2006!

On hearing this, I knelt before mother and cried: ‘Father, I have let you down! Mother, I have let you down!’

I asked mother: ‘Did father blame me?’

She said: ‘No, of course not. Rather, your father comforted me, telling me not to worry. He said, ‘Don’t we know what our son is like?”

When I heard this, my tears fell uncontrollably. This is the greatest trust that a father can place in a child; this is the most precious legacy that he has left me.

Now, whenever I recall his words, I would still cry uncontrollably.

I was amazed when Mr. Ching told us he received full financial and legal support from The Straits Times, including full salary for the three years he was in prison and also fighting the Chinese government to give him proper legal representation. Unimaginable to westerns accustomed to a fair judicial system, his first Beijing based lawyer backed out the case because of government pressure and he was unable to hire another Beijing lawyer.

Dinner with Ching Cheong 程翔 pix 01

Dinner with Ching Cheong 程翔 pix 02

Note: As an aside because of the recent escape of Chinese rights activist and blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠), a friend was wearing a set Chen free t-shirt he got previously.

Free Chen Guangcheng 陳光誠 t-shirt


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