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“Serious Crimes”

A Chinese academic who helped write a document advocating political liberalization has been sentenced to 11 years in jail.

“A Chinese court has sentenced a leading dissident to 11 years in prison for ‘inciting subversion of state power.’ Liu Xiaobo, a 53-year-old academic, who was previously jailed over the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, had been charged for co-authoring a document appealing for political liberalization. The verdict was handed down by a Beijing court on Friday after a two-hour trial on Wednesday in which prosecutors accused Liu of ‘serious crimes’. Liu’s lawyer, Shang Baojun, said he had 10 days to appeal, but Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, had said on Wednesday that her husband had no plans to appeal. Friday’s sentencing came despite calls by the US and EU for Liu’s release. ‘We are deeply concerned by the sentence of 11 years in prison announced today,’ Gregory May, the US embassy’s first secretary in China, told reporters outside the courthouse.”

The blind 40-year-old Chinese dissident who escaped from house arrest in April — improbably evading guards, finding his way to the U.S. embassy in Beijing and, after a diplomatic fracas, acquiring a visa to study law in the United States — landed at Newark Liberty airport on Saturday. Less than a month after fleeing his village in Shandong Province, Chen Guangcheng and his family are free in Greenwich Village. The question is whether they are here for good.
A verdict on the trial of China’s most prominent dissident will be reached on Christmas day following a hearing which lasted just two hours.

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