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Radio Lifted Tiananmen Series, Writers Claim

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Writers who specialize on the Tiananmen Square Massacre claim in court that a Radio Free Asia reporter swiped 10 years of data from a flash drive and used it for a 14-part series on the radio website.

Renhua Wu and Liyong Sun sued Radio Free Asia and its reporter Can Long on Dec. 30 in Superior Court, seeking punitive damages for conversion and negligence.

Wu, of Los Angeles, says he is "a well-respected author of several books about the Tiananmen Square Massacre."

Sun, of Australia, "is renowned for his work in communicating with, and gathering information from, the rioters against June Fourth Tiananmen Square Massacre," he says in the complaint.

Sun says he spent more than 10 years collecting information about the Tiananmen Square protesters and their families, who authorized him to use the information, much of it never made public, "for the purpose of bringing aware of the world about their dire situation in China."

No one, with the possible exception of the Chinese government, knows how many protesters were kill on June 4-5, 1989, though the estimates run from hundreds to thousands.

Sun says he came to Los Angeles in September 2014 and brought Wu a USB flash drive "with all of the data an information he had collected on it," so that he and Wu could "write and publish a new book about the rioters against Tiananmen Square Massacre and use the proceeds from the book selling to aid the education of their children."

Wu was living in the same house in West Covina with Long, the Radio Free Asia reporter, and told him about the book, according to the complaint.

On Sept. 16, 2014, the station's website published a report by Long and another staff reporter, revealing that Sun and Wu were going to write an publish a book called "Archives of the Rioters against June Fourth Massacre."

"Without being known to Mr. Wu, Mr. Long [had] secretly downloaded all the date in Mr. Wu's possession and took control of them," the complaint states.

Radio Free Asia eventually published 14 stories using their data, using the same title as their book-in-progress, the men say.

Wu says he wrote to RFA in February 2015, "demanding it to stop using the data and information Mr. Sun collected and to take all published episodes off online from [the] RFA website."

In a March 11 response, an attorney for RFA denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to change the title of the series, discontinue it and remove photos, the complaint states. But because RFA had divulged so much information, "Mr. Wu was not able to continue his writing and, as such, his writing plan was aborted," according to the complaint.

Wu and Sun claim RFA and Long published the stolen information "with oppression, fraud, malice, and in conscious disregard of the rights of plaintiffs."

They seek punitive damages for conversion and negligence.

Their attorney, Guodi Sun, of Arcadia, declined comment.

Radio Free Asia did not respond to a request for comment.

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