China jails rebel for 11 yrs

 
The 53-year-old Liu, a writer who was jailed over the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, was tried on Wednesday for “inciting subversion of state power” after co-authoring a bold call for political reform last year.

He co-wrote Charter 08, which calls for human rights protection and the reform of China’s one-party Communist system.

It has been signed by more than 10,000 people, according to China Human Rights Defenders, an activist network. Charter 08: China intellectuals’ call for reform.

The case has generated concern in the West over China’s human rights record, especially in the United States, which urged Beijing to “respect the rights of all Chinese citizens to peacefully express their political views”.

“We continue to call on the government of China to release him immediately,” US embassy official Gregory May told reporters outside the courthouse following the sentencing.

“Persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of political views is inconsistent with internationally recognised norms of human rights,” May said.

Police presence at the courthouse was stepped up on Friday, with only the press pack milling around outside the building. A few supporters appeared after the sentence.

A group of Western diplomats including May, who were denied access to Wednesday’s proceedings, tried to attend Friday’s hearing but were again refused.

The dissident’s wife Liu Xia told AFP that Liu had decided to appeal the verdict.
“He will meet his lawyers Monday and they will prepare the appeal,” said Liu, who had not been allowed to attend Wednesday’s trial but was present at her husband’s sentencing.

In a brief dispatch, the official Xinhua news agency reported the sentence in its English-language version only, saying the court had “strictly followed the legal procedures in this case and fully protected Liu’s litigation rights”.

But rights groups lashed out at what they called a “toughening of China’s political climate.”

“This reverses a trend seen over the past decade towards lighter sentences in subversion cases,” Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher in the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, said.

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