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Forestry authorities sued for being irresponsible
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On December 10, Hao Jinsong, a Chinese scholar of the law, brought in an indictment against China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) to the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court. His suit refers to the dispute over the alleged South China Tiger. The court said that the case would be filed in a week.

A farmer in Shaanxi Province claimed to have taken pictures of the South China Tiger this October. A controversy about the authenticity of those pictures followed their Internet posting. Meanwhile the farmer and the forestry bureau of Shaanxi Province, as well as the State Forestry Administration, have become hot topics for public debate, according to Hao.

Hao applied to the State Forestry Administration for administrative reconsideration in November, asking that the administration investigate and prosecute for dereliction of duty by the local forestry bureau and also charge the farmer with counterfeiting. Hao also insisted that the picture verification should have been entrusted to professional institutions chosen by the SFA.

The administration dismissed Hao's application on November 26, stating that the declaration released by the forestry bureau of Shaanxi Province indicating the existence of the South China Tiger in the province did not have any tangible impact on Hao's rights and duties.

The SFA would not verify the pictures of the South China Tiger, a spokesman for the administration said at a press conference in Beijing on December 4. "The administration has sent an expert group to Shaanxi Province to conduct an investigation on the tiger without verifying the pictures. They are not responsible," said Hao.

"I am now focusing my attention on the public's legal awareness rather than those tiger pictures. I want to prove that we can arouse our government's awareness of accountability and our legal awareness through judicial procedures,”'Hao told the Procuratorial Daily.

"The court will file the case. Although I can not predict the final results, I believe that other people will continue the judicial procedures even if I fail," Hao stated firmly.

( by Yang Xi, December 12, 2007)

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