Friday, March 07, 2008

Lawmakers say will push for photo authentication

Lawmakers say will push for photo authentication

(Xinhua)
Updated: 2008-03-04 16:53


BEIJING - Legislators from Northwest China's Shaanxi Province said on Tuesday they would actively push for the authentication of the controversial South China tiger photos and would keep the public informed of the results.

"But the provincial forestry department is still looking for an authoritative body for the authentication," said Zhang Shenian, Shaanxi's top forestry official, on behalf of the Shaanxi delegation to the First Session of the 11th National People's Congress set to open on Wednesday.

Zhang said his organization had chosen two to three authoritative bodies for the authentication. "But they all turned down our request, saying the case 'had not entered judicial procedures' and was therefore not for them to work on."
Several unofficial assessments have proven the photos fake.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Tuesday, Shaanxi governor Yuan Chunqing said the provincial government's attitude towards the tiger saga was "clear".

"But at the imminent parliament session, we should concentrate on deliberating the government work report," he said.

In early February, the Shaanxi Forestry Department apologized for publicizing the photos, but said nothing about their authenticity.

A deputy head of the provincial forestry department was allegedly sacked, and a spokesperson had to submit a self-criticism in written.

The tiger photos, allegedly taken by Shaanxi farmer Zhou Zhenglong in his home county of Zhenping, were published in October and were used by the provincial forestry department as proof that the rare tiger still existed in the wild.

But Internet users accused Zhou of making the tiger images with digital software, and local authorities of approving the photographs to bolster tourism.

The "paper tiger" saga has aroused widespread interest among the public and deputies to the forthcoming parliament session.The tiger photos, allegedly taken by Shaanxi farmer Zhou Zhenglong in his home county of Zhenping, were published in October and were used by the provincial forestry department as proof that the rare tiger still existed in the wild.

But Internet users accused Zhou of making the tiger images with digital software, and local authorities of approving the photographs to bolster tourism.

The "paper tiger" saga has aroused widespread interest among the public and deputies to the forthcoming parliament session.

Xu Yuanyuan, a deputy from the southern province of Guangdong, said on Monday she was ready to raise the topic at the session.

"The government should not remain silent on the 'paper tiger' incident any more," said Xu, an automation specialist. "It is responsible for revealing the truth to the public."

According to an online poll by several leading Chinese websites including xinhuanet.com and sina.com, the "paper tiger" saga is one of the major issues the public wishes the forthcoming parliament session to address, alongside price hikes, housing, education and medical service.

The State Forestry Administration said late on Monday that months of field survey by its own experts had failed to find any "concrete evidence" of South China tiger in Zhenping county of Shaanxi, where the photos were purportedly taken last fall.

But the administration said the field survey would last for a while and the team would publicize the results as soon as it was finished.

Related readings:


Field survey fails to find tiger at controversial photo site
Lawmaker demands timetable for tiger photo authentication
Province says sorry over tiger photos
Publisher sues farmer, official over tiger photo

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008npc/2008-03/04/content_6506995.htm


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