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China cracks down on lawyers, journalists

[JURIST] Chinese authorities have detained Zhu Jiuhi, a Beijing lawyer and activist for the development of rule of law after he attempted to file a landmark civil suit against the provincial government and lower-level governments for confiscating private investors' oil wells estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. No official charges have been brought against Zhu and the investors, several of whom have also been detained, but internal documents outline broad charges of "distorting the facts," disrupting social order and breaking the law. Newsday has more. Zhu's arrest comes amid a government crackdown on journalists [Intl. Federation of Journalists press release], and members of other groups who are involved in politically sensitive issues. On Tuesday, China publicly accused Ching Cheong, chief China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, of spying for "foreign agencies" [JURIST report]. Additional charges of fraud have now been levied against a Chinese researcher for the New York Times, Zhao Yan, who was arrested last year on charges of leaking state secrets to foreigners. Prior to working for the Times, Zhao had exposed corruption by helping thousands of farmers write petitions seeking to stop corruption. Zhao was formally arrested last October, but no charges have been revealed and he has been denied access to his family and attorney. This new fraud charge allows the government to hold Zhao for another seven months without bringing him to trial. Reuters has more.

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