World Bulletin / News Desk
The United States and Germany urged China to free an outspoken government critic known as "Super Vulgar Butcher" on Wednesday after he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
"The embassies of Germany and the United States are deeply disappointed that Chinese human rights defender and blogger Wu Gan ... (has) been convicted on vague charges," a joint statement from the embassies said.
"We call on the Chinese authorities to release Wu immediately."
Wu was taken into custody in May 2015 just weeks before authorities unleashed a ruthless campaign later dubbed the "709" crackdown, rounding up over 200 people involved in activities considered sensitive by the ruling Communist Party.
The outspoken social media figure became the subject of the state's ire for using his larger-than-life online persona to draw public attention to human rights cases.
He called himself "butcher" because he saw himself as taking the fight to authorities, promising to "slaughter the pigs". He added "super vulgar" after complaints about his use of crude language to make his case.
His lawyer told AFP the harsh sentence was intended as an unmistakable signal to anyone who would dare to challenge the state's authority.
A very different ruling was made with respect to former human rights lawyer Xie Yang, who was exempted from jail after pleading guilty to "inciting subversion of state power".
"Confession demonstrates the correctness of the regime's charges, reinforces its ideology, avoids the necessity for appeal," said New York University law professor Jerome Cohen, adding that the insistence on confession has long been characteristic of the Chinese justice system.
But the US and Germany also highlighted "allegations of serious mistreatment of Wu Gan and Xie Yang while in detention", calling on the Chinese authorities "to adhere to procedures established by law".
During his sentencing, Xie denied being tortured, contradicting previous statements.
The two countries also called for the release of lawyer Wang Quanzhang -- who was detained during the same police sweep two years ago and is yet to stand trial.
Electoral coalitions in Iraq are often formed based on sectarian and ethnic lines
Al-Aqsa officials are warned not to carry out any renovation work at flashpoint holy site, local official says
Rescue team has not ruled out possibility of locating more bodies
Israeli officials say Gaza economy was “like from zero to below zero”
Salim al-Jubouri also stresses need to support war-ravaged Nineveh province in post-ISIL era
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted that Trump said "I'd," not "I" as the newspaper reported.
Palestinian minister says Israeli government violates Christian, Muslim places of worship
Five people are still missing after the mudslides, according to an update on the County of Santa Barbara's website, which warned people to "anticipate the numbers of missing persons to fluctuate significantly."
Haider al-Abadi forms Victory Coalition and calls on political groups to join his ‘supra-sectarian national coalition’
‘The U.S. Pacific Command has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii,’ says Pentagon
Palestine Liberation Organization calls for the assurance of the establishment of the Palestinian state
Antonio Guterres says UN supports Colombian peace process
Speculation about Haley's presidential ambitious has picked up since she defended Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, staring down friends and foes alike at the world body.
"The G7 serves well as a proving or testing ground for discussions that could eventually go into the G20 or the United Nations or international financial institutions," Peter Boehm, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's G7 representative, said in an interview with AFP.