Chinese cyber-dissident jailed for four years

A Chinese rights activist has been sentenced to four years in jail for subversion after posting politically sensitive essays on the Internet, his lawyer said .

Chinese cyber-dissident jailed for four years
court in China's eastern province of Zhejiang convicted Chen Shuqing of inciting subversion, lawyer Li Jianqiang said, emphasising that his client had always maintained his innocence.

"We think the sentence is totally unreasonable. He was only expressing his opinion and that is within his rights under the constitution," Li told AFP.

Chen, 43, was arrested in September last year and has been detained ever since.

No one at the court in Hangzhou city was available to comment.

Chen wrote many articles critical of the Chinese government on overseas websites, including essays that advocated democracy and constitutional rule, Li said.

Li, who has defended many press freedom cases, has also come under the scrutiny of authorities and was notified in June that his licence has been suspended for at least one year.

He said he suspected he was disbarred for taking on too many politically sensitive cases.

Paris-based press freedom rights group Reporters Without Borders said it was "appalled" by Chen's punishment.

"Courts taking their orders from the Communist Party continue to crack down on cyber-dissidents," the organisation said in a statment.

"We reiterate our appeal for the release of Chen and the other 50 cyber-dissidents and Internet users held in China."

Despite China's pledge to ease control over the media ahead of the 2008 Olympics, human and media rights groups say its leaders continue to tighten their crackdown on dissent amid increasing social unrest.

Reporters Without Borders said in a report last week that at least 30 journalists, as well the 50 Internet users, were currently detained in China, some of them since the 1980s.

The watchdog ranks China 163rd out of 167 countries on its global press freedom index.

Last Mod: 18 Ağustos 2007, 10:41
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