Two leading Chinese activists have been sentenced to prison for subverting the state power.
Xu Zhiyong, 50, and Ding Jiaxi, 55, received 14 and 12 years in prison, respectively, for “subversion of state power”, according to Jiaxi’s wife, Luo Shengchun, a resident of the United States, CNN reported.
Xu and Jiaxi were arrested separately in 2019 and 2020, following an intense crackdown on legal activists, BBC reported.
The announcement of their sentencing comes one year after both men were tried in a Shandong court. Both pleaded not guilty, according to CNN. (RELATED: China ‘Disappeared’ And Tortured A Human Rights Attorney. His Advocates Want The US To Help Set Him Free)
A Chinese court sentenced two of the country’s most prominent human-rights activists to prison terms of more than a decade each for subversion https://t.co/ciqnNyZlaG
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) April 10, 2023
Ding and Xu founded the group New Citizens’ Movement in 2010 to advocate against the Chinese Communist Party’s civil rights abuses and fight to increase government transparency.
In 2021, Xu issued a statement to his lawyers outlining his vision for a new democratic China. “A democratic China must be realised in our time, we cannot saddle the next generation with this duty,” he said.
The trial was highly secretive, and Luo said she was unable to obtain any documents from the defense lawyers representing the two men. “The lawyers are not allowed to speak to the media and strictly forbidden from sharing the court verdict – or they will have their practicing license revoked,” Luo said in a statement, per CNN.