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China Editor Gets Life in Prison

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A government news editor accused of leaking a speech by Chinese leader Jiang Zemin to a Hong Kong newspaper was sentenced to life imprisonment Monday for “selling state secrets overseas.”

According to the official New China News Agency, Wu Shishen, an editor with the domestic news department of the agency, was convicted of selling the advance text of a speech Jiang gave at an important Communist Party meeting last October to a reporter for the Express newspaper for 5,000 yuan ($871).

The Hong Kong newspaper embarrassed Jiang, the Chinese president and general secretary of the Communist Party, by publishing the speech a week before Jiang delivered it.

Although the speech was eventually to be presented in a public forum, the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court convicted Wu of leaking “the most confidential document” to Hong Kong reporter Leung Wai Man on Oct. 4, 1992. Also convicted and sentenced to six years in prison was Ma Tao, a magazine editor at the news agency. Ma is believed to be Wu’s wife.

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According to the report Monday, the court ruled that “Wu Shishen was the engineer of the crime and the principal culprit and he should be punished severely for the vile nature of the crime and for the odious way the crime was committed and its serious consequences.”

According to the news agency, Leung “confessed” to the crime of selling state secrets.

Express editors claimed they obtained the Jiang speech in Hong Kong and did not pay for it. Neither Leung nor Express Editor in Chief Chiu Sin Chun had any comment on the sentences.


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