Writer jailed for nine years in China for 'subverting state power'


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A human rights advocate was jailed for nine years after a brief hearing yesterday in which he pleaded not guilty to subverting state power.

Chen Wei's lawyer, Zheng Jianwei, said a court in the city of Suining, in Sichuan province, had found him guilty of "inciting subversion of state power" by writing essays critical of the government.

Mr Zheng said Chen, right, had pleaded not guilty and, after the verdict was announced, declared: "Dictatorship will fail, constitutional democracy will prevail." Chen's wife, Wang Xiaoyan, confirmed that he was sentenced to nine years in prison as punishment for nine essays that he published on Chinese websites overseas.

Separately, riot police fired tear gas to break up a demonstration against a planned power station in southern China yesterday. The protests in Haimen intensified this week as people about 130km further along the coast in the village of Wukan called off a 10-day blockade in protest against a land grab by officials.