The Guangdong Higher People's Court has rejected an appeal by a Southern Metropolis News senior journalist against an eight-year jail term for corruption and embezzlement, on the grounds he did not submit any 'new legal and substantive evidence' for a retrial. A source close to the newspaper's former general manager, Yu Huafeng , 36, said his family would now take the appeal to the central government, although technically they could still submit more evidence to the court. The family also planned to launch another signature campaign in their bid to free him. The source said Yu was in good health in a prison in Panyu - although he complained of dizziness - and he got regular visits from family and friends. The court handed down its verdict on July 20, almost a month after more than 2,300 journalists filed a petition calling for the release of Yu and the newspaper's former director, Li Minying , who was convicted on similar charges. The petitioners also took issue with the delay in the handling of the appeal. Yu filed his appeal in November, while Li did so in January. The pair were accused of misappropriating advertising revenue to pay themselves and other senior staff bonuses. The action against them was taken after the tabloid ran scoops, about the killing of a Wuhan university graduate and the Sars outbreak, which embarrassed local officials. Former editor-in-chief Cheng Yizhong was also taken into custody, but released six months later amid pressure from Guangdong party elders and the media. He has been gagged and was barred from going to Senegal in April to receive a UN press freedom award.