China jails ex-Tiananmen student leader for 9 years

A former Chinese dissident leader who was handed over to Chinese police by authorities in Hong Kong has been jailed for nine years, a human rights group said.

China jails ex-Tiananmen student leader for 9 years

A former Chinese dissident leader who was handed over to Chinese police by authorities in Hong Kong has been jailed for nine years, a human rights group said.

Zhou Yongjun, a former student leader from the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement in Beijing, was also fined 80,000 yuan ($11,720) on financial fraud charges by a court in Sichuan province last Friday, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.

Zhou had travelled to Hong Kong from Macau last September under a false identity, but was held and transferred by Hong Kong officials to police in the South China city of Shenzhen, his lawyer and girlfriend have previously said.

His supporters accuse Chinese authorities of a political motive in trying him in a county court in Sichuan, rather than in Hong Kong, where one of his charges of "defrauding" Hong Kong's Hang Seng Bank took place.

They have also condemned Hong Kong's controversial decision to "illegally" hand him over to Chinese authorities that seriously infringed his rights.

Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy and a separate judicial system under its mini-constitution, the Basic Law but critics say the case of Zhou Yongjun sets a worrying precedent.

Extradition of individuals from Hong Kong to China remains rare, while the Basic Law obliges authorities to "safeguard the rights and freedoms" of all those in the city.

Without a valid Chinese passport, Zhou had travelled to Hong Kong on a Malaysian national's passport in 2008, a month after the Beijing Olympics when Hong Kong authorities tightened immigration and barred prominent China critics from the city.

The Hong Kong government said at the time that anyone with an invalid travel document would be "repatriated to his or her place of embarkation or origin".

Another key figure in the 1989 Tiananmen protests, Liu Xiaobo, was jailed for 11 years last month on a subversion charge.


Reuters


Last Mod: 21 Ocak 2010, 13:44
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