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China court sentences NYT researcher for fraud, drops state secrets charges

[JURIST] A Chinese court of Friday sentenced New York Times researcher Zhao Yan [HRIC profile, PDF] to three years in prison for fraud charges, but also dismissed more serious charges of illegally leaking state secrets. Zhao was convicted of taking $2,500 from a village official. He was initially also charged with providing state secrets to foreigners, and had he been convicted on those charges Zhao could have faced an additional 10-year sentence in a high-security prison.

Zhao was formally indicted [JURIST report] on the state secrets charges in December after a 2004 New York Times report [text] revealing the resignation of Jiang Zemin as head of the military before it was formally announced by the government. The charges were dropped in March, but China continued to detain Zhao and eventually reinstated the charges, a process which Chinese officials maintained was legal [JURIST reports].
Reuters has more.

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