“I think it’s clearly a forgery,” said the counsel. “This woman is clearly after money or publicity, and is attempting to defame the good name of my country and its labor system–to say nothing of our many business partners–to grind a personal axe.” He promised swift legal action, a libel suit, and a gag order, though at press time those motions were still working their way through the docket.

Ms. Franks, for her part, has refused to speak to the press directly since the press conference where the news of her discovery broke. “My client is extremely upset at this response and these completely unfounded allegations,” said her attorney. “It was her intention to do the right thing, not to cause a media circus.” An anonymous source close to the Franks family has noted that the cost of retaining legal counsel has so far been “ruinous,” with few donors willing to incur the ire of the powerful interests Ms. Franks has suddenly found herself at loggerheads with.

And what of the object that started the imbroglio? Law enforcement has so far refused to comment, confirming only the details that were released earlier. A handwritten note, in English, was reportedly discovered sewn into the lining of a handbag Franks bought. The author claimed that he was being held against his will in a forced labor camp in Xinjiang.

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