Chinese democracy activist handed out 10 year sentence

A activist was sentenced to 10 years jail in the wake of the Arab "Jasmine" protests.

Updated: Mar 25, 2011, 20:37 PM IST

Beijing: A prominent Chinese democracy
activist was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in jail for
subversion, his wife said, amid a severe crackdown on
dissidents in the wake of the Arab "Jasmine" protests.

A court in the southwestern province of Sichuan jailed
Liu Xianbin, 43, for "inciting subversion of state power"
after he published pro-democracy articles online, his wife
Chen Mingxian said to a news agency. He was detained last June.

"The public prosecution authorities believe that these
articles slander and vilify the Chinese Communist Party and
incite people to overthrow party leaders," Chen said.

China has launched a tough crackdown following the
recent "Jasmine" revolts and other upheaval in the Middle East
and North Africa, which many political analysts have said
indicated official fears the unrest could spread here.

Authorities have been particularly on edge since the
emergence of mysterious online calls, inspired by the Arab
unrest, for people to gather in cities around China for subtle
"strolling" demonstrations each Sunday.

The campaign has prompted tight security at designated
protest sites and no obvious protest actions have been seen.

China faces rising public dissatisfaction over
inflation, corruption and growing income disparities --
similar to the mix of problems contributing to the Arab
unrest.

Chen called her husband`s 10-year sentence -- handed
down in the city of Suining -- severe, but added she was
unsure whether that was because of the recent protest calls.

"The situation is currently very tense. Friends have
been summoned to court and detained," she said.
Liu has previously spent more than a decade in prison
for his activism.

He served two-and-a-half years in jail for his role in
the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, rights groups say.

He was arrested again in the late 1990s over his
activities as a founding member of the China Democracy Party,
and sentenced to 13 years in prison for subversion but was
released in 2008, ahead of time.

Following his release, he became an active member of
Sichuan`s dissident community, publishing articles on
democracy and human rights and voicing support for other
jailed Chinese dissidents.

"He was in jail twice but still he didn`t repent,"
Chen said, adding that this may have contributed to his latest
hefty sentence.

A news agency calls to the Suining court where Liu was sentenced
went unanswered.

PTI