10/13/2012, 00.00
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Hainan, activist publishes free book on pollution; arrested for illegal earnings

Futang Liu, an ecologist, is likely to get two to five years in prison. Charged with illegally receiving funding from some environmental groups. In recent months, the man had issued 18 thousand free copies of a book-length investigation against the pollution of the industrial giants in China.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Authorities in Hainan (South China) are trying Futang Liu, a 63 year-old environmentalist, for an alleged "illegal business operation" for self-publishing books on environmental conflicts caused by government-backed projects. Arrested in July, Liu, risks from two to five years in prison. Yesterday, the activist has rejected the accusations, pointing out that the 18 thousand copies of the book - printed at his own expense at a cost of 464mila Yuan (57 thousand euro) - have almost all been donated to associations for the protection of the environment. However, the authorities have deemed 78 thousand yuan - about 9,600 euro - in donations that Liu received from the sale of 14 copies of the book on a website, illegal.

Zhou Ze, the activist's lawyer, says the allegations are unfounded because Liu did not print the books with the intention of making a profit. The court charges are "a reprisal of the local governments and industrialists" against Liu, who in his book accuses several companies of destroying ancient forests and endangered the lives of thousands of people.

Known across the country for his fight against the indiscriminate pollution of China's industries, Liu Futang has been awarded several times for his environmental campaigns spread through the internet. On his blog, the activist has made numerous charges against China Guodian, one of the largest energy companies in China, ignored by state media. His case has leapt to the eyes of the authorities, after he organized a major protest against a coal power plant in the city of Yinggehai (Hainan).


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