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Beijing Court to Consider New Evidence in Spy Case - 2001-10-22

A Beijing court has decided to hold another hearing in the espionage trial of American engineer Fong Fuming to consider new evidence. His first trial ended after seven hours on Monday. Mr. Fong is one of several U.S. citizens and residents to be tried in China on security charges.

American engineer Fong Fuming's trial began Monday on charges of obtaining secret government documents.

John Berry of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing says Mr. Fong faces another court session. "The trial of Mr. Fong Fuming concluded on October 22 after seven hours, but there will be an additional hearing," he said.

Mr. Berry says Beijing's Number One Intermediate People's Court ordered the hearing to consider new evidence raised in Monday's session.

The court did not announce the date of the hearing.

Derek Miller, a U.S. consular officer in Hong Kong voiced concern over Mr. Fong's detention. "We believe that the 19 month detention of Mr. Fong before he was indicted was excessive," he said.

Sophia Woodman, a spokeswoman for Hong Kong-based watchdog Human Rights in China, also considers the pretrial detention too long. "Mr. Fong has been in detention for more than a year and a half and that's a very long time before being brought to trial," said Ms. Woodman. "And he's fairly elderly and he's been denied access to his hearing aid and his glasses, which is just very unnecessary."

The trial comes a day after President Bush left China after attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Shanghai.

Earlier this year, an American professor of business and two Chinese-born U.S. residents were convicted of spying and expelled from China.

Mr. Fong, a native of China, worked in the country's power industry, emigrating and becoming a U.S. citizen in 1994. He later worked as a consultant to foreign firms on power infrastructure in China and in Asia.