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Cyber-dissident gets long jail term for "subversive" articles

(RSF/IFEX) - 26 December 2011 - Reporters Without Borders is shocked by the severity of the 10-year jail sentence that a court in Guiyang, the capital of the southwestern province of Guizhou, passed today on Chen Youcai, a dissident writer who uses the pen-name of Chen Xi.

Convicted of inciting subversion in a total of 36 articles posted on various websites, he was also sentenced to three years without civil rights after his release. The long jail term was imposed just three days after a court in neighbouring Sichuan province sentenced Chen Wei, another cyber-dissident, to nine years in prison on a similar charge.

“The Chinese authorities have again used the holiday period to impose a series of particularly severe sentences on pro-democracy activists,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The 'subversion' charge is just a pretext for silencing dissidents such as Chen Xi and Chen Wei and encouraging self-censorship. We call on the authorities to free them and all other political prisoners.”

The Hong Kong-based NGO Chinese Human Rights Defenderssaid the defence lawyer was repeatedly interrupted during today's summary and unfair trial. Arrested on 29 November, Chen Xi said he would not appeal because it seemed pointless. A veteran pro-democracy campaigner, he has already spent a total of 13 years in prison in connection with his activism. This clearly did not count in his favour in the court's eyes.

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