BEIJING – A Beijing man who supplied information to a dissident-run U.S.-based news website has been detained on charges he made up stories that disparaged the Chinese government, police announced Tuesday.
Xiang Nanfu was accused of providing false stories to Boxun.com of organ harvesting and live burials by the Chinese government, according to a police statement. It said Xiang worked with Boxun.com to incite public dissatisfaction against the government.
Boxun.com, founded in 2000 and based in New York City, is known for publicizing allegations of high-level Chinese corruption and human rights abuses. Access to the site is blocked in China.
Xiang, 62, was detained under a law against troublemaking, according to the police statement. Violators usually are punished with fines, but the law also allows a prison sentence of up to five years.
Xiang was shown on the national Chinese state television noon newscast confessing and expressing contrition.
"I have made up things that are not facts," said Xiang, who was shown wearing the green vest of a jail inmate. "My behaviors have caused a very bad impact. I have realized I have smeared the ruling party and the government."
The founder of Boxun.com questioned the validity of Xiang's confession.
"The authorities could have used some means to extort the public confession, although we do not know what means they have used," Watson Meng said by phone from New York. "Such confessions should not be valid."
Meng said that Xiang had backed up his reports with photos and video footage and called him "trustworthy." He said most were about people who petitioned the government over complaints about mistreatment by authorities.
Meng rejected an allegation by police that Xiang was paid "large amounts of U.S. dollars" for his reports.
"In the past three years, Boxun did not pay him directly, and he never sought payments from us, either," Meng said.