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January 5, 2010

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Blogging brothers lodge appeal over Xie libel verdict

THE twin-brother bloggers who a court ruled had defamed the late film director Xie Jin have appealed the decision, denying they wrote the blogs claiming Xie died while having sex with a prostitute.

Song Zude and Liu Xinda submitted their appeal to Jing'an District People's Court through their lawyer, Shi Minguang, yesterday.

In it they said the blogs were published by others in their names and said the court hadn't ask for their evidence about the blogs before the hearing.

The brothers claimed Xu Dawen, Xie's widow, had made use of the media to attract public attention and they said the court should not have believed media reports since reporters hadn't identified themselves when asking the brothers questions and they hadn't agreed to be interviewed.

The brothers added that the media, including a Shandong Province TV station and six domestic newspapers that had published stories about the blogs, should be also included as defendants to cover the compensation because they were also involved in tarnishing Xie's reputation if the brothers were believed to have libelled the director.

On December 25, the bloggers were ordered to pay nearly 290,000 yuan (US$42,476) in compensation to Xu.

The blogs said Xie had called a prostitute and died during sex at the Shangyu International Hotel.

They also claimed that Xie and Liu Xiaoqing, one of China's most successful actresses, had conceived a son during an affair.

Xie, who lived in Shanghai, was one of China's most respected film directors, winning national film awards.

The brothers also filed a lawsuit yesterday against the media and reporters who provided testimony in Xie's case calling on them to prove they had interviewed the brothers and that they had admitted to having written the libelous blogs.

They accused the media of making false reports and testimonies for Xu and asked for apologies and 200,000 yuan in compensation for mental anguish.

On December 31, Jing'an District People's Court decided to freeze 300,000 yuan in the bank account of Liu Xinda or seal up his real estate to the same value in the city, in case the brothers transferred their property to avoid paying compensation.


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