23 Dec 2011

Chinese activist jailed for nine years for 'subversive writing'

A Chinese court has sentenced a veteran democracy activist to nine years' imprisonment for inciting subversion, in what appears to be the most severe punishment handed down in a crackdown on dissent this year.


Chen Wei was convicted of incitement to subversion over four essays he wrote and published online, according to one of his lawyers. He was detained in February amid an extensive government crackdown in response to anonymous online calls urging Chinese to imitate protests in North Africa and the Middle East.

Attorney Liang Xiaojun said the trial at a court in the city of Suining in south-west China lasted about two and a half hours and the sentence was handed down 30 minutes after the trial concluded.


"We pleaded not guilty. He only wrote a few essays. We presented a full defence of the case, but we were interrupted often, and none of what we said was accepted by the court," Liang said. Liang said that after the sentence was handed down, Chen said: "I protest, I am innocent. The governance of democracy must win, autocracy must die."

The Guardian