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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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Protector of Lake Loses Appeal in China Court

Posted by Author on November 9, 2007

By JOSEPH KAHN, New York Times, November 6, 2007-

BEIJING, Nov. 5 — A prominent Chinese environmental leader has lost his appeal of a three-year conviction on blackmail and fraud charges, according to his wife and his lawyer, even as the authorities promised to invest billions to clean up the lake he fought for years to protect.

A court in Wuxi, in eastern Jiangsu Province, upheld the conviction of Wu Lihong, who became well known around China for seeking to prevent chemical companies from dumping untreated waste in Lake Tai, China’s third-largest freshwater lake. The ruling was made Friday, his wife and his lawyer said Monday.

Mr. Wu, his lawyer and many of his colleagues in the area’s environmental movement said the charges of blackmail and fraud had been concocted by local officials to put him behind bars, after his protests against their collusion with chemical companies attracted widespread news media attention.

Mr. Wu said during his first trial in August that the police had tortured him until he confessed, but judges decided that his confession remained valid. The appeals court in Wuxi did not grant his request for a second trial and rejected the appeal without holding a hearing.

The case showed how the Chinese authorities had tightened controls on outspoken, grass-roots environmental leaders even as they vow to do more to reduce pollution.

A toxic algal bloom on Lake Tai this summer, which officials later said was caused in part by runoff from chemical companies, led to a cutoff of drinking water to several million people for several days in May. Amid national outrage, local officials vowed to close hundreds of chemical manufacturers, and the authorities said they would invest $14.4 billion to restore the lake, one of the biggest environmental cleanups in Chinese history.

Mr. Wu was already in custody when the outbreak began. His prosecution was delayed during the algae crisis, but as news media attention subsided, the local authorities held a one-day trial and found him guilty.

Original report from the New York Times

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