A researcher for The New York Times serving a three year prison sentence in China on fraud charges says a court has rejected his appeal.

Zhao Yan's lawyer says the Beijing High Court upheld a lower court verdict Friday.

Zhao was convicted of fraud in August, but was acquitted of the more serious charge of revealing state secrets.

The charges against Zhao stemmed from an article in The New York Times, that correctly predicted former President Jiang Zemin would resign as head of the country's armed forces.

Human rights and press freedom groups say the charges were politically motivated. They also said Chinese state secret laws are too vague and provide too much discretion in their enforcement.

The newspaper has repeatedly denied the journalist did anything improper.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP