(AP) The case of a Chinese researcher for The New York Times under investigation on suspicion of leaking state secrets has been handed over to prosecutors, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
Zhao Yan, who worked for the newspaper’s Beijing bureau, has been held since September on charges of revealing unspecified state secrets.
His case was moved to the Beijing No. 2 People’s Procuratorate on May 20 for “further investigation and prosecution,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said.
“The prosecutors are handling the case according to law,” Kong said, without elaborating.
Mo Shaoping, Zhao’s lawyer, said he hadn’t heard about the latest developments. Mo said authorities turned down several requests to see his client, most recently on May 17.
Mo said prosecutors will now examine the case and decide whether to charge Zhao based on the facts. He said they have the option to put him on trial, release him or ask investigators for more evidence.
It is believed that Zhao was under investigation as the possible source for a report last year by the Times about former President Jiang Zemin’s plan to give up a key military post.
A document given to Zhao’s family said he was suspected of “illegally providing state secrets to foreigners” but gave no details of what was allegedly disclosed.
Zhao, who had worked for the magazine China Reform, was well known for exposing official abuses.
Also Thursday, employees of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the government’s main think tank in Beijing, said a sociologist there was detained in April by the National Security Bureau.
Lu Jianhua was a researcher in the Sociological Bureau of CASS, according to a woman who answered the phone in the institution’s America and Oceanian Division. Another woman in its Foreign Affairs Office said Lu was detained by security agents.
Both women refused to give their names and said they didn’t know why Lu was detained.
People who answered the phone in the administration and publicity offices of CASS refused to confirm whether Lu was detained.