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Chinese civil rights activist sentenced for subversion

BEIJING, China (AP) — An outspoken Chinese civil rights activist who dedicated himself to chronicling the plight of other dissidents was given 3-1/2 years in jail Thursday, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Li Fangping said that Hu Jia has 10 days to appeal the sentence, but that a decision on an appeal has not yet been made.

Hu, 34, had pleaded not guilty on charges of inciting subversion of state power at his trial last month. Li said then that he expected a 5-year sentence to be handed down.

Li said Hu appeared calm and poised at the sentencing at the Beijing No. 1 People’s Intermediate Court.

He said the court said the evidence against Hu included Internet articles he had written and two interviews he gave to international media.

Hu has been a vocal critic of China’s human rights record for years. An impassioned AIDS and environmental activist, he was confined to his Beijing apartment in a complex called Freedom City for more than 200 days before he was taken away by security agents on December 27.

Li said earlier this month that Hu’s indictment cited the comments he made during interviews with foreign media and articles he wrote that were posted on Boxun.com, a U.S.-based Chinese-language Web site that is banned in China.

Boxun.com, based in the U.S. state of North Carolina, carries reports and essays on a wide range of issues rarely seen in the Chinese state media, from corruption cases to calls for greater democracy.

Hu’s case has gained international attention, with U.S. and European officials repeatedly raising it in meetings with Chinese officials.

Premier Wen Jiabao avoided mentioning Hu by name when questioned about the case in a news conference last month and denied that Beijing was rounding up government critics ahead of the Olympics.

China is a country ruled by law, and all these issues will be dealt with in accordance with law, Wen said. As far as the critics’ view that China is trying to arrest dissidents before the Olympics, there is no such issue at all.

Beijing routinely uses the nebulous charge of subversion to imprison dissidents for years.
Chinese civil rights activist sentenced for subversion – found here.

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April 3, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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