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ASTANA -- The Kazakh Prosecutor-General's Office has formally asked legal experts to rule on whether media reports about the lease of agricultural land to China were defamatory, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

In a statement today, the Prosecutor-General's Office said it has asked law enforcement bodies to undertake an expert assessment of whether the reports incited "national enmity and hatred" or contained insults "to national honor and dignity."

The statement said that unnamed "provocative-minded people" used media outlets in an attempt to "disrupt public order" and damage the cordial relations between Kazakhstan and China.

It further noted that Kazakhstan's Land Code prohibits foreign persons or companies from owning agricultural land or forests in Kazakhstan.