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October 24, 2009

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High-profile team fights to free former tycoon

FOUR law professors, seven agricultural experts and dozens of entrepreneurs have joined the appeal against the life sentence imposed on a businessman who was the richest man on Chinese mainland a decade ago.

Guo Jianxin's lawyer has submitted the appeal to Beijing's Higher People's Court which is considering whether to accept it, yesterday's Shanghai Morning Post reported.

Guo was ranked China's richest man in 1989 by Forbes with wealth of about 10 billion yuan (US$1.46 billion).

He was sentenced to life in 2002 after being convicted of contractual fraud.

Guo started his career in saline-alkali soil reclamation in 1995.

Guo launched the Heilongjiang Modern Agricultural Co in June in the following year and conducted reclamation projects in more than 10 provinces and cities across the nation to help improve the productivity of the soil there.

His projects became a big success and he was awarded the national subsidy for young scientists and many other prestigious titles.

A document signed by four senior law professionals and others argued the fraud charge was baseless because Guo had returned all the capital and interest in a 30-million-yuan loan at the center of the case.

"Guo's projects have proved successful in unproductive soil reclamation," said Long Xianzhu, one of the agricultural-expert signatories.


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