[JURIST] New York Times researcher Zhao Yan [HRIC profile, PDF; JURIST news archive] is appealing the three-year prison sentence [JURIST report] he received last week from a Beijing court that convicted him of fraud. Zhao was charged with accepting $2,500 from an official, and his appeal maintains that he was acting as a reporter when the incident took place. Zhao lawyer Guan Anping also contends that a key witness was not permitted to testify on Zhao's behalf. Initially filed on Monday, the appeal was rejected on the basis of a clerical error and resubmitted.
More serious charges of disclosing state secrets to the foreign media, which could have entailed 10 years in prison, were dismissed. Guan predicted that the Beijing High Court was unlikely to review those charges, although such a move is possible. The charges were based on a 2004 New York Times report involving the upcoming resignation of Chinese President Jiang Zemin. AP has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.