2nd legal activist sentenced as China reigns in critics
A Chinese legal rights activist was sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison on subversion charges Wednesday, in the second in a series of cases underscoring the ruling Communist Party's determination to rein in government critics.
State broadcaster CCTV said Hu Shigen had pleaded guilty to "subversion, damaging national security and harming social stability" at the start of his hearing before the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court.
t said Hu had decided not to appeal the sentence.
His brief trial came a day after the court issued a suspended three-year sentence to activist Zhai Yanmin. Both were arrested in July last year with two others as part of a nationwide crackdown on legal rights activists. About 300 lawyers and activists were initially seized and questioned before most were released.
Hu, 61, was accused of leading an "underground organization" that masqueraded as a church but was dedicated to identifying and drawing attention to accusations of government abuses. He worked with others, some of whom are also facing trial this week, to "organize activities that manipulated public opinion and disturbed public order," prosecutors were quoted as saying by state media.
"Hu's ideology and his behaviors have seriously harmed the country and social stability," state media quoted prosecutors as saying.