Xi signature campaign

SOME newly-appointed Hong Kong affairs advisers yesterday launched a signature campaign among fellow appointees to seek the immediate release of jailed reporter Xi Yang. However, many of their colleagues expressed reservations about the move.

The letter, seeking a fair trial and immediate release for Xi - who was jailed for 12 years in China for stealing state secrets - was written by the chairman of Meeting Point, Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, former United Democrat member Lau Kong-wah, and head of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, Frederick Fung Kin-kee.

Meanwhile, lawyers for Xi will argue that he should not be found guilty on the charges in an appeal hearing, according to Ming Pao yesterday.

After reading the relevant documents and meeting Xi, the two lawyers decided that there was ''inadequate evidence, lack of clarity on the facts and problems with the legislation'' when the court reached its first verdict.

They were quoted as saying that Xi had not committed what the law defined as stealing, nor did he consciously try to ''spy'' on state secrets.

A letter defending Xi's position was passed to the Beijing Supreme People's Court on April 13 and they are waiting for the court to decide whether to conduct another hearing in court or in written form.