China: 10 year sentence for veteran dissident
25 March 2011
The Chinese authorities should immediately release prominent pro-democracy activist Liu Xianbin, Amnesty International said today, after the dissident was jailed for 10 years for writing articles critical of the government.
“Ten years imprisonment for writing articles is an appalling sentence, and a travesty of justice” said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Asia-Pacific. “Liu Xianbin is not guilty of any crime. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately.”
“The Chinese authorities are shooting the messenger rather than heeding the message, when even Premier Wen Jiabao has acknowledged the need for political reform” said Catherine Baber.
Liu Xianbin was convicted by a court in Sichuan province of ‘inciting subversion of state power’ in a trial that lasted only a few hours.
This is the third time Liu Xianbin has been imprisoned for his political beliefs and activism.
After his last release from prison in late 2008, Liu became a public signatory to the ‘Charter 08’, a proposal for legal and political reform that was co-authored by Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo.
He also published numerous articles online and in journals about democracy and human rights, which were critical of Chinese government repression.
Arrested again in June 2010, the high-profile dissident had been out of prison for less than two years. Local activists believed his arrest was a punishment for his continued activism.
Liu has previously served nine years of a 13-year sentence for ‘subverting state power’ due to his CDP activism in the 1990s, and two and a half years after his participation in the student democracy movement of 1989.
25 March 2011 update: Chinese activist Liu Xianbin sentenced to 10 years in prison for writing articles online calling for nonviolent protests & reforms
Prominent China dissident facing ‘subversion’ trial
24 March 2011
China should release a veteran democracy activist instead of putting him on trial tomorrow, Amnesty International has said.
Liu Xianbin is being tried in Sichuan province for “incitement to subvert state power” over articles he wrote in 2009 that urged democratic reforms.
“Liu Xianbin is not guilty of any crime, and should never have been arrested for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Director for the Asia-Pacific
"He is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately.”
The 43-year-old became an activist during the 1989 student-led democracy movement, and was a founder of a local branch of the banned China Democracy Party (CDP).
Liu has been denied access to lawyers for months. The charge of ‘inciting subversion’ could see him facing up to five years imprisonment, or longer if the court considers his crime to have been especially grave.
Arrested in June 2010, the high-profile dissident had only recently been freed from prison after serving nine years of a sentence for ‘subverting state power’ due to his CDP activism in the 1990s. His wife has not been allowed to see him since he was detained.
Local activists have told Amnesty International that they believe Liu was arrested again as punishment for continuing his activism after his release from prison in late 2008.
Once out of prison, Liu became a public signatory to the ‘Charter 08’, a proposal for legal and political reform that was co-authored by Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo. He also was a prolific writer of online articles about democracy and human rights, which were critical of Chinese government repression.
“Liu Xianbin was brave and persistent enough to keep speaking out for human rights even after spending years in prison. China should be celebrating this kind of courage, not punishing it” said Sam Zarifi.