Xinhua News Agency

In Brief

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2007, 12:00am

Journalist wins international honour for exposing scam

A whistle-blower who spent eight years in jail was awarded a top journalism prize in New York yesterday. Gao Qinrong , a former investigative reporter for Xinhua's Shanxi branch, was one of four journalists awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists. In May 1998, Gao, 52, exposed a scam irrigation project involving 280 million yuan of public funds in Yuncheng . After an on-the-spot investigation, he reported it was impossible to build 60,000 ponds in six months as promised by local officials because of a lack of water resources and no water pipes had been installed in relevant areas. Gao was arrested and charged with taking bribes, involvement with prostitutes and fraud. He was sentenced to 12 years' jail later that year. Gao was released last December after his jail term was cut to eight years for 'good behaviour'. Choy Chi-yuk

Correspondents urged to expose interference

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China has urged journalists to contact it if they encounter interference reporting on the mainland. The call was made after some reporters were detained, harassed and roughed up recently, it said. Two cases happened on Tuesday alone. One involved Barbara Luthi, a correspondent for Swiss television, her cameraman and local assistant, who were roughed up and detained for seven hours in Shengyou village, Dingzhou county, Hebei . The other case concerned Swiss photographers Mathias Braschler and Monika Fischer, who were detained for three hours in Wuchang , Hubei province , when they were found talking to locals about a property dispute. Klaudia Lee

Pollution-illness link to be studied

A nationwide survey will be conducted soon on the types and distribution of various illnesses caused by environmental pollution, Xinhua reported. The survey will be conducted in areas where pollution-induced illnesses may develop or where such cases have already happened, the agency reported, adding the survey would help the authorities give priority to major pollution black spots. Klaudia Lee

Satellite blast a big US concern

US concerns about China's military build-up have only been heightened by a Chinese anti-satellite missile test in January that has yet to be explained, the top US military leader said. Admiral Michael Mullen, the new chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he raised the test with Chinese leaders when he visited the country in August. 'That test is a great example of creating a question that hasn't been answered yet,' he said. AFP

Third manned mission planned

China will launch its third manned space mission on the heels of next year's Beijing Olympics, state media said. The Shenzhou 7 launch is on track for an October launch, about one month after the Games end, China Daily said on its website, citing space academy researcher Pang Zhihao. The mission will carry three astronauts into space and feature China's first space walk. AP