Chinese dissident Chen Xi has been jailed for ten years for subverting state power in what rights groups are calling a Christmas crackdown by Beijing.
A veteran of the Tiananmen protests, he was convicted for publishing essays online criticising the ruling Communist Party, according to his wife.
She told reporters by telephone that after a trial lasting just two and a half hours he said: “I am a law-abiding person. I respect the court’s verdict. I will not appeal but I am innocent.”
The stiff sentence comes just days after another dissident was jailed for nine years on similar charges.
Reacting to the latest case, a foreign ministry spokesman insisted China abides by the rule of law. “The judicial authorities work in accordance with the law,” he said.
At Christmas 2009, Chinese political activist Liu Xiaobo was convicted and jailed for 11 years. He was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Rights groups claim China cracks down on dissidents during the holidays to minimise international scrutiny.