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New Hearing Could Be Good News for American Charged in China with Spying

An American engineer on trial in Beijing may have some reason to hope for an acquittal, after the judge agreed to consider new evidence. Chinese-born Fong Fuming is the latest U.S. citizen or resident to face trial in China this year.

U.S. diplomats in Beijing say Fong Fuming's trial lasted for seven hours Monday and was adjourned without a verdict. They note that the court has ordered an additional hearing to consider new evidence.

Mr. Fong's U.S.-based attorney, Jerome Cohen, has complained about the way the case has been handled, but said the new hearing may be good news for his client.

Many trials in China end in convictions after a few hours of hearings that are closed to the public.

Friends and family members complain that they were promised this trial would be open, but they were not able to attend Monday's proceedings after traveling to Beijing from overseas.

Chinese-born electrical engineer Fong Fuming is accused of paying thousands of dollars in bribes to obtain copies of confidential and secret state documents. He was consulting on power projects in China at the time of his detention.

Mr. Fong, 66, worked in China's power industry before moving to the United States and becoming a U.S. citizen. He says he is innocent, and he has been in house arrest or custody in China for the past 19 months.

Mr. Fong is just one of several U.S. residents and citizens who have been tried by China on security charges this year. Some have been convicted in very brief trials and quickly deported back to the United States.

No date has been set for the new hearing.