Dissident writer Wang Tiancheng yesterday lost his appeal to the Beijing Higher People's Court over allegations of plagiarism levelled against Wuhan legal professor Zhou Yezhong . The Beijing Higher People's Court announced that it supported the Beijing No2 Intermediate People's Court's decision in July to reject Wang's demand for an apology and 60,000 yuan from Professor Zhou, his student and co-writer, Dai Jitao, and the People's Publishing House over the publication of a book on constitutional law last year. Mr Wang claimed that Professor Zhou, a star legal academic who has lectured senior officials, deliberately copied more than 5,000 words in the book from Wang's published papers without attribution. Wang is a former Peking University Law School lecturer who spent five years in jail from 1992 for his dissident activities. Represented by leading Beijing lawyers Zhang Sizhi and Pu Zhiqiang , Wang appealed to the higher court against the ruling in July and an open hearing was held in October. The case has drawn much attention in the legal community and on the internet thanks to the contrasting reputations of its protagonists. It is also seen as a benchmark case, few of its kind having made it so far in the legal system, despite several charges of plagiarism and academic misconduct levelled this year at a number of prominent professors. The higher court agreed that seven passages amounting to 1,398 words contained in Professor Zhou's book were basically the same as the content of Wang's papers and should be protected by copyright law. But set against Wang's 40,000-word papers and the professor's 220,000-word book, the overlaps 'constitute a small proportion, do not make up substantial content and are scattered among various chapters in Zhou's book', it said. Wang said he was disappointed by the decision. 'It's a shameless decision that's political rather than legal. The facts of the whole case were very simple, clear and available to the public on the internet.' He said he would continue to appeal to the Beijing Higher People's Court and the Supreme People's Court. 'This case reveals a serious problem about whether people like me [with a bad political record] should be protected by law.' Mr Pu said the decision was politically motivated because it was made by the court's committee - which includes court officials - rather than the three judges who heard the case. 'I understand the judges processing this case must have been in a difficult position and I regret that they were not able to reach their own independent, just decision,' Mr Pu said. 'This case reveals the terrible environment Chinese lawyers and judges work in, and how the academic research environment has decayed.' Professor Zhou refused to comment and his lawyer, Zhu Zhengfu, said he would not say anything without his client's authority.