China court sentences rights activist to prison for subversion

[JURIST] Chinese authorities on Wednesday sentenced a prominent rights activist to 10 years in prison, marking the third such sentence in a month. Dissident Li Tie was sentenced for subversion [BBC report]. The charges were brought in response to pro-democracy articles Li wrote in 2010. Li professed his innocence saying that his articles accorded with the Constitution. Li was detained in September 2010, but his trial did not take place until April 2011. During the trial Li's family attempted to hire a lawyer, but the government removed him from the case and appointed a government lawyer. His family has vowed to appeal the conviction. Chinese Human Rights Defenders [advocacy website] rejected the decision and said that such harsh sentences would do nothing to prevent [news release] or curb the social unrest.

This is the third time in a month that a dissident has been sentenced for subversion. Chen Xi was sentenced to 10 years [JURIST report] in late December for publishing political essays online. In that same month a court sentenced Chen Wei to nine years in prison [JURIST report]. The sentence came as a response to charges that stemmed from written essays critical of the Communist Party, which Chen published on overseas Chinese websites, avoiding the national Internet censorship firewalls. Earlier this week dissident Zhu Yufu was charged with subversion for writing and publishing a poem on the internet that urged people to act in support of freedom [BBC report]. Two longer sentences for subversion convictions belong to Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who has been serving an 11-year sentence [JURIST report] since 2009, and Liu Xianbin, who was jailed for 10 years in March 2011.

 

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