Olympic athlete sues cigarette company

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BEIJING--Chinese long-distance runner Madame Wang Junxia has demanded $1.2 million from Yunnan Kunming Cigarette Factory for infringing on her right to her image. In a lawsuit submitted to Shenyang Intermediate People's Court, Ms. Wang accused the factory of using her photo, without her permission or knowledge, in a full-page ad in the Hong Kong-based Ta kung Po on August 6, 1996, according to a report by the Beijing Youth Daily.

The ad ran after she won the gold medal in the 5,000-meter contest in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Besides the indemnity, Ms. Wang also demanded a written apology from the factory to restore her reputation and asked the factory to bear all the expenses resulting from the litigation.

The cigarette factory's legal consultant, Lin Jiansai, says the factory didn't know that Ms. Wang's photo was used in the ad, which was released by an advertising agency, adding that Ms. Wang's image was certainly not used on its products.

Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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