A Chinese court jailed a veteran dissident who organised a pro-democracy activist network for 10 years today for inciting subversion, his wife said.
The stiff sentence come near the end of a year in which the Chinese government has used various means to silence dissent, from lengthy imprisonment to months of disappearances, in a crackdown aimed at preventing Arab Spring-style uprisings.
A court in the southern city of Guiyang found Chen Xi guilty of the charge of "incitement to subvert state power" for 36 essays he wrote and posted online, his wife said.
Chen maintained his innocence but will not appeal the verdict, Zhang Qunxuan said.
"This is utterly absurd," Zhang said. "Chen Xi told the court it did not take into consideration the things he has written as a whole, and has interpreted his words out of context. But they have power and they don't listen."
"The court said he was a repeat offender and also that this is a very serious crime," she said.
Chen was active in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests and was sentenced to three years in prison, and several years after that, he was jailed for 10 years on charges of counterrevolutionary offences, Zhang said.
The Chinese government has long meted out heavy punishments to veteran activists who have refused to give up despite decades of harassment and imprisonment.