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Chinese court jails veteran human rights activist for 12 years

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BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese court on Monday jailed for 12 years a veteran human rights activist known for running a website tracking abuse accusations and helping victims of a 2008 earthquake in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

The province’s Mianyang Intermediate People’s Court handed down the sentence after it “determined that Huang Qi is guilty of deliberately leaking state secrets” and was “guilty of illegally providing the secrets outside of China,” it said in a statement.

Huang, who is in his mid-fifties, was also stripped of his political rights for four years. He has been in detention since 2016, to the growing concern of rights groups, the United Nations and his mother.

On his website, Huang had tried to help those who wanted to find justice in cases such as forced evictions.

Reuters could not immediately reach Huang or his representatives to seek comment.

Since 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has led a campaign in which hundreds of rights lawyers and activists have been detained and others jailed.

China regularly rejects criticism of its human rights record and says those jailed are criminals who broke the law.

(Reporting by Huizhong Wu and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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