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China to try New York Times reporter

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BEIJING, Dec 23, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A New York Times reporter in China, who has been in detention for more than a year, now faces charges of fraud and passing state secrets to foreigners.

The indictment against Zhao Yan comes despite doubts about the evidence against him and protests from human rights groups and media watchdogs, reports the Financial Times.

After being spared the indictment twice in the past because of insufficient evidence, Zhao is to stand trial in the next six weeks, the report said. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

The case against Zhao apparently stems from a New York Times story last year that rightly predicted the retirement of China's former president Jiang Zemin. The Times has repeatedly denied Zhao was the source of its information, while Zhao says he is innocent of both leaking state secrets and the charge of fraud.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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