China jails veteran dissident for another 10 years

China jails veteran dissident for another 10 years

The court convicted Liu on charges linked to several articles he published on international websites, Liu's wife, Chen Mingxian, told DPA by telephone from Suining.

Chen said the Suining Intermediate People's Court in Sichuan province had allowed her, Liu's brother and two lawyers to attend Friday's hearing.

But she said local police detained several activists who had travelled from other areas of China to support Liu, forcing some of the activists to return home.

"Lawyer Ma Xiaopeng and lawyer Wang Wei lodged a 'not guilty' plea for Liu Xianbin," Chen said.

Several supporters said Liu's sentence appeared harsh but hailed his long-term activism.
"Liu Xianbin is a pioneer and also a leader," rights activist Mo Zhixu said on his Twitter account.

"Sichuan has many more dissidents who will spring up if some are cut down," Mo said. "We have only this way to comfort Liu Xianbin."

Before Friday's trial, London-based Amnesty International said Liu was a "prisoner of conscience" and urged China to release him.

"Liu Xianbin is not guilty of any crime, and should never have been arrested for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression," Catherine Baber, Amnesty's deputy director for the Asia-Pacific, said in a statement Thursday.

"He is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately," Baber said.
Liu, 42, was arrested in June, less than two years after he was released from a decade in prison on similar charges.

He was among the 303 leading dissidents, activists and writers who issued Charter '08 for democratic reform in December 2008.

Liu Xiaobo, a dissident writer who co-organized Charter '08, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for subversion in December 2009. He was awarded last year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Liu Xianbin wrote articles promoting human rights and democracy and joined movements to support Liu Xiaobo and Chen Yunfei, another democracy activist.

He was released early for good behaviour in November 2008 after he served more than nine years of a 13-year prison sentence.

His earlier sentence was linked to his activities as a leading member of the banned China Democracy Party.

He had previously spent two and a half years in prison from 1991 to 1993 for "counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement" after he founded an unauthorised political journal while studying at People's University in Beijing.

Liu Xianbin also took part in the 1989 democracy protests that the ruling Communist Party ended with a deadly military crackdown in and around Beijing's Tiananmen