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'Times' Researcher Faces Prison Time in China

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

A Chinese researcher for the New York Times has been acquitted on charges of revealing state secrets. The Beijing-based journalist was convicted on unrelated fraud charges and sentenced to three years in prison. Zhao Yan has said he is innocent.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Now, the earlier charges stemmed from a 2004 New York Times article. It correctly forecast that the then Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, would give up his remaining leadership post as military chief, and that was information regarded as a state secret.

The executive editor of the Times, Bill Keller, said as far as the Times is aware, the only thing that Zhao Yan committed was journalism.

Today's verdict came amid a current effort by China's government to tighten controls on the media. Dozens of reporters have been jailed, often for violating security laws. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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