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Chinese Man Jailed For Attack On Kazakh Newspaper

Rysbek Sarsenbai (file photo)

Rysbek Sarsenbai (file photo)

ALMATY -- A Chinese man has been sentenced by a Kazakh court to five days in jail for attacking the office of an independent newspaper, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The Almaty court found Yan Shaolian, a shuttle trader, guilty on April 5 of attacking the Almaty office of "Zhas alash" on March 28.

The Almaty-based organization "Adil soz" (A Just Word), which monitors media and journalists' rights, said Yan smashed the doors of the newspaper's editorial office and broke a window.

Zhan Jianchao, the deputy chairman of an Almaty organization representing Chinese businesspeople, has officially apologized to the newspaper's editors and paid for the damage. Yan said at his trial he was drunk at the time.

But "Zhas alash" editor in chief Rysbek Sarsenbai told journalists he was not satisfied with the court decision. He said the case should be reviewed and Yan should be deported from Kazakhstan.

"It is very strange that Mr. Yan consumed alcohol in one district of Almaty and, being drunk, decided to travel to another district to perpetrate an act of hooliganism," Sarsenbai said.

Sarsenbai said the attack might be connected with recent articles in "Zhas alash" focusing on tensions in Chinese-Kazakh relations, especially the controversial issue of leasing Kazakh land to Chinese farmers.

Sarsenbai noted that the newspaper's website recently suffered several cyberattacks that he suspects originated in China. He pointed out that the website is very popular among ethnic Kazakhs living in the northwestern Chinese
province of Xinjiang.