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February 2, 2010

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Court rejects bloggers' appeal

TWIN brothers whose blogs defamed late film director Xie Jin must pay his widow, Xu Dawen, 290,000 yuan (US$42,476) after their appeal was rejected.

Song Zude and Liu Xinda denied they had written the blogs, claiming passages that said Xie died while having sex with a prostitute had been uploaded by hackers.

But Shanghai No.2 Intermediate People's Court yesterday upheld the verdict of Jing'an District People's Court on December 25 that they had defamed the late film director.

The court had ordered they pay compensation for the widow's costs and mental anguish.

The brothers accused the media, including a Shandong Province TV station and six domestic newspapers, of making false reports and testimonies for Xu and asked for apologies and compensation for their mental anguish.

However, they failed to provide evidence to the court, which ruled that Song and Liu should be held responsible for their blogs. They hadn't deleted the essays or cleared up the facts when being interviewed by journalists.

The two brothers didn't attend yesterday's hearing.

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

On the morning of October 18, 2008, the 85-year-old director was found dead from a heart attack in a hotel in his hometown, Shangyu City in Zhejiang Province.

Song posted an article on his blog saying that a witness heard a young woman's voice and Xie "wheezing" on the morning of his death.

Liu had repeated the story in his own blog.


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