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Olympic champ Liu loses rights litigation
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-26 05:40

Chinese Olympic 110-metre hurdles champion Liu Xiang lost his rights infringement case yesterday at a court in Beijing.

Liu Xiang celebrates after winning the 110-meter hurdles at the Athens Olympics on August 27, 2004. [newsphoto]
The Haidian District People's Court freed the newspaper Life Style from the star's charge over the use of his photos on the cover and other pages last October.

Liu claimed Life Style violated his right of portrait and sought 1.25 million yuan (US$151,000) in compensation.

However, the court ruled that the picture of Liu was used for news reporting purposes instead of advertisement. "Chinese laws permit the media to use pictures of people involved in specific events in relevant news reports," the judgment said.

"My client and I are shocked to hear the court decision," Zheng Yinghua, Liu's lawyer, said yesterday.

Liu has an opportunity to appeal, and Zheng said nothing has been decided yet.

Life Style said in an announcement: "We will not relax as the case is, in fact, appealable."

On May 18, two days ahead of the scheduled announcement of the court's judgment, Liu petitioned to withdraw his action, but yesterday the court ruled against him.

"It is ungrounded for the court not to support our withdrawal application," Zheng said.

Zheng insisted that the photo of his client was used on the cover page as part of an advertisement for a department store.

"Whatever the result is, we will not hesitate to continue to safeguard Liu's legal rights," the lawyer said.

(China Daily 05/26/2005 page2)

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