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USA newspaper gets Chinese man indicted and then blames China. [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2005-12-25 07:01:34 |Display all floors
This is the fault of the New York Times.  They know that their news organization is a foriegn newspaper in a partially open society, and that reporting state secrets is extremely risky to its friends in China.  But it still rushes to print with the details.  Sadly, while the Times speeding the news from China into print, it remained silent about its own government's abuses of domestic spying on its own citizens.  So while it caused a Chinese journalist to be jailed by his government, no one at the New York office of the New York Times would risk offending the USA government by printing news that was vital to constitutional democracy in the United States.

This isn't the first time the New York Times has landed an Asian reporter into hot water.  In the 1970's, Cambodian translator Dith Prahn missed his chance to escape Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime because his New York Times reporter needed his assistance.  Luckily for him, he eventually escaped and his ordeal was made into a movie called "The Killing Fields".  However, there's just no excuse for the Times to exploit people from other cultures by first making them prisoners for applying western values to situations where there are no western traditions, and then making them martyrs for press freedoms in other countries when the Times won't apply those same principles to its own government at home.

The New York Times is rightly credited with some excellent journalism, but it is occasionally guilty of serious irresponsibility and cowardice.  This is one of those occasions.

December 24, 2005


Indicting Honest Journalism in China

After holding Zhao Yan, a journalist, for 15 months without a hearing, Chinese authorities have finally drummed up an indictment. Yesterday, on the last working day for prosecutors to decide whether to go forward with the case under Chinese law, Mr. Zhao, a researcher in the Beijing bureau of The New York Times, was formally charged with revealing state secrets to the newspaper and the lesser charge of fraud. If convicted, he faces a possible minimum of 10 years' imprisonment.

The Chinese authorities had been holding Mr. Zhao in purgatory since yanking him from a restaurant in September 2004. His arrest followed the pattern for Chinese who dare to practice journalism. The accusation of providing state secrets to foreigners is the vague catchall that party leaders invoke after reports surface of some business they want to keep quiet. In this case, a Times article forecast the retirement of China's leader, Jiang Zemin, from his last official post.

Clearly, we feel the case of Mr. Zhao's detention acutely. China has produced no evidence that he is guilty of anything but honest journalism. Two weeks ago, Mr. Zhao was named journalist of the year by Reporters Without Borders, the international press-freedom group.

The bizarre fraud charge was added several months after Mr. Zhao's arrest and is connected to allegations from 2001, before his employment with The Times. Chinese investigators claim Mr. Zhao took money for offering to write a story for a Chinese newspaper, an allegation denied by Mr. Zhao's lawyer and disputed by a witness.

China cannot consider itself a global powerhouse if it does not provide its citizens with basic human rights.

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Post time 2005-12-25 07:18:10 |Display all floors

New York Times distances itself from Chinese "muckraker"

New York Times encourages western style competitive reporting.  Chinese journalist obtains inside information, and editors in New York run the news.  Then reporter is arrested for breaking Chinese law.  The New York Times showed the same recklessness in "The Killing Fields" where they deserted a local translator to the Pol Pot re-education camps.  "Muckraker" is not a type of journalist employed by the Times, even when they rake muck, so they seem to be backing off from the journalist whom they relied upon for the insider news.

Never trust an organization, an organization has no loyalty to anyone or anything.

December 24, 2005

China Indicts Times Researcher, Saying He Disclosed State Secrets


BEIJING, Dec. 23 - A Chinese researcher for The New York Times was indicted Friday on charges of disclosing state secrets to the newspaper and on a lesser charge of fraud, a move that should send the case to trial within six weeks, his lawyer said.

The researcher, Zhao Yan, 43, who worked in the paper's Beijing bureau, has spent 15 months in prison without a hearing. The formal indictment is significant because such a move on charges relating to state secrets is usually tan$$ount to conviction in China.

Mr. Zhao, who has denied the charges, could face a minimum of 10 years in prison.

"For Zhao Yan's colleagues, family and friends, this is deeply disheartening," said Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times. Mr. Keller lobbied the Foreign Ministry on Mr. Zhao's behalf in October during a visit to Beijing.

"We've seen no evidence whatsoever that he is guilty of anything but honest journalism," Mr. Keller added.

Mr. Zhao's arrest is directly linked to an article in The Times on Sept. 7, 2004, that disclosed that the former president, Jiang Zemin, had unexpectedly offered to resign his last leadership post as chief of the military. The ruling Communist Party is acutely sensitive to any reporting on the secretive inner workings of the leadership.

The Times has denied that Mr. Zhao was a source for the article.

Mr. Zhao's arrest has brought China widespread international condemnation, including criticism from the United States government. In September, President Bush included Mr. Zhao on a list of troubling human rights cases that he handed to President ^^  ^^ during a meeting in New York. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also criticized Mr. Zhao's arrest.

Two weeks ago the international advocacy group Reporters Without Borders named Mr. Zhao journalist of the year.

Mr. Zhao's lawyer, Mo Shaoping, said the belabored manner in which the case had been handled might indicate uncertainty by prosecutors. Twice, prosecutors in Beijing sent the case back to the State Security Bureau for further investigation. Under Chinese law, Friday was the last working day for prosecutors to decide whether to go forward with the case.

"There is a question as to whether they have full confidence in their own evidence," Mr. Mo said by telephone from Yulin, in western China, where he is working on another case.

Mr. Mo said he had been notified of the indictment but had not yet received a copy of the formal indictment letter. He expects the letter to be filed in court next week and to include a list of evidence in the case. Under China's rules of procedure, Mr. Mo said, a trial must be held within six weeks, though prosecutors can ask for an extension of one month.

The indictment letter would also indicate whether prosecutors had decided to charge Mr. Zhao with disclosing a juemi, a high-level state secret, as has been recommended by state security agents. If so, he would face at least 10 years in prison. Disclosing lesser categories of state secrets brings lighter sentences.

The fraud charge was added several months after Mr. Zhao's arrest and is connected to allegations from 2001, before his employment with The Times. Investigators contend that he took money for offering to write a story in a Chinese newspaper. A witness has come forward disputing the charge, and Mr. Mo has denied it.

Usually, a trial involving state secrets is closed, and it is unclear whether Mr. Mo will be allowed to mount an aggressive defense. He has indicated that he will try to call Joseph Kahn, The Times's bureau chief here, as a defense witness. But foreigners are not allowed in such proceedings, much less foreign journalists.

Once a muckraking journalist who exposed official corruption and wrote about the abuses endured by farmers, Mr. Zhao started working for The Times in Beijing in April 2004. He was arrested on Sept. 17, after state security agents tracked him to a Pizza Hut in Shanghai. He is now in jail in Beijing.

Agents had identified him as a target after a high-level investigation was ordered in response to the article in The Times about Mr. Jiang.

That article, written by Mr. Kahn, cited two anonymous sources in reporting Mr. Jiang's offer to resign. (Mr. Jiang later did resign the military post.) The Times has said that Mr. Zhao was neither a source nor a conduit for a source.

According to a confidential state security report, the key piece of evidence is a photocopy of a handwritten note that Mr. Zhao wrote to Mr. Kahn two months before the publication of the article. The note describes some jockeying between Mr. Jiang and Mr. Hu over military appointments. Mr. Kahn later included a reference to such jockeying as background material in one of the final paragraphs in the Sept. 7 article.

A central question is how state security agents obtained the photocopy. The original note remains in The Times's office in Beijing, suggesting either that agents entered the office without permission or enlisted someone to help them make a copy. In either instance, the note should not be admissible under Chinese law, legal experts say.

Mr. Zhao's arrest was part of a broader crackdown on the media in China. In April a Chinese newspaper reporter, Shi Tao, was given 10 years in jail after being convicted of giving state secrets to foreigners. That same month Ching Cheong, a Hong Kong-based reporter for a Singapore newspaper, was detained and later charged with spying for Taiwan.

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Post time 2005-12-25 18:21:07 |Display all floors

Notice of retirement..........

......doesn't sound like a state secret. Was there another secret that was revealed? Such as the design of a new type of warship or airplane?

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Post time 2005-12-25 21:58:12 |Display all floors

Doesn't look like a state secret to you and me, but we're not Chinese

Notice of retirement seems like a fair scoop to you and me, but we're not Chinese living in China.  The peaceful transition of political power in China was a sensitive and important issue, and apparently its details were state secrets.  Likewise, the USA has state secrets that are as old as the country itself, mostly diplomatic negotiations between various countries, obviously not instructions on how to build a nuclear weapon at home.  Not all secrets are technical designs.

What's so pathetic about the actions of the New York Times is that while they were publishing China's state secrets as news, they were silent on their knowledge that President Bush had authorized widespread domestic spying within the USA.  Why can't they do their readers the service of reporting controversial government actions in the USA when they can report on controvesies within China's government?

Worst of all is that this is at least the second time the New York Times has screwed up like this.  In the mid-1970s, a translator working for a Times reporter (Sydney Schanberg) in Cambodia named Dith Pran was handed over to the Khmer Rouge.  He missed his chance to escape because he was translating when he should have been running for his life.  His ordeal was the subject of a movie called "The Killing Fields."  Now the Times is backing away from their man in Beijing, calling him a "muckraker".  The Times may rake muck, but they don't associate with muckrakers.

[ Last edited by matt605 at 2005-12-25 09:26 AM ]

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