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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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China sets Friday hearing for N.Y. Times researcher

Posted by Author on August 21, 2006

BEIJING, Aug 21 (Reuters) – A Chinese researcher for the New York Times who was tried by Beijing on charges of revealing state secrets is set for a court hearing on Friday, raising the possibility of a verdict, his lawyer said on Monday.

Zhao Yan, who began work at the New York Times’s Beijing bureau in 2004, was detained in September of that year on the secrets charge after the paper reported former Chinese President Jiang Zemin would give up his sole remaining leadership post as military chief. The report turned out to be correct.

Zhao was tried on June. His lawyer, Mo Shaoping, said it was unclear whether a verdict would be delivered at the Friday hearing.

“We may find out in the next day whether that’s the reason for the hearing, but for now we can’t be certain,” he told Reuters, noting that Chinese courts are supposed to give three days’ notice of verdicts.

“We’ll see if we can clarify that tomorrow,” he said.

The hearing will come after a string of detentions of lawyers has cast a spotlight on ruling Communist Party officials’ wariness of independent-minded lawyers.

Last Friday, an attorney defending a blind human rights activist facing trial in east China’s Shandong province was held by police till the hearing ended. That same day, Beijing police announced they had detained Gao Zhisheng, an outspoken human rights lawyer.

Zhao’s lawyers have been forbidden from disclosing details of the trial, but a previous indictment accused him of describing jostling over military appointments between Jiang and his successor Hu Jintao before Jiang’s retirement, as well as a lesser crime of fraud.

If Zhao is found guilty, he could face a prison sentence of 10 years or more.

The Times and Zhao have rejected the charges against him and demanded his release. His lawyers have complained of irregularities throughout the case.

In March, a Beijing court granted a prosecutors’ request to withdraw at last part of the indictment against Zhao, initially raising defence lawyers’ expectations he would be released.

Related:
Media crackdowns: two years before Beijing Olympics(2) , RSF, Aug.7, 2006
No verdict in Zhao Yan trial , RSF/IFEX, July 28th, 2006

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