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Appeals of Chinese dissidents rejected

[JURIST] In two separate rulings on Friday, Chinese courts rejected the appeals of a journalist and rights activist who challenged the government. In a five-minute session, the Beijing High Court rejected an appeal by Zhao Yan [JURIST news archive], a New York Times researcher who was sentenced to three years in prison [JURIST report] for fraud in August. Zhao was acquitted of more serious charges of revealing state secrets at that time. Last week, the same court rejected another appeal [JURIST report] from a reporter who was arrested for spying and revealing state secrets.

Also Friday, the Yinan County Court in Shandong province upheld the sentence of Chen Guangcheng [HRW case backgrounder], a blind human rights activist who wrote about forced abortions in the Chinese countryside. No witnesses or evidence were presented during the thirty-minute trial. Separate charges [JURIST report] of organizing a public disturbance and damaging property are also pending against Chen in a lower court. Chen claims the charges are retribution for his documentation of forced sterilizations and abortions [TIME feature] performed by Chinese officials to enforce China's one-child policy. A Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] spokesperson told AP that "the decisisions . . . have very little to do with justice and have everything to do with politics." AP has more.

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