Christian Political Dissident Liu Xianbin Sentenced to 10 Years on Treason Charge

Friday, March 25, 2011

imageChina Aid Association
(Suining City, Sichuan – March 25, 2011) Veteran Chinese political dissident, writer and Christian Liu Xianbin was sentenced Friday by a court in Sichuan province to an unexpectedly harsh 10-year prison term on a treason charge simply for writing articles for overseas publications that the government deemed subversive.
The Suining Intermediate People’s Court convicted Liu of “inciting subversion of state power” and handed down the sentence on Friday morning during court proceedings in which Liu was permitted to speak only a few words in his own defense. Attempts by his lawyers Ma Xiaopeng and Wang Wei to present a defense were repeatedly interrupted by the presiding judge, and Liu was denied the opportunity to make a closing statement.

Liu’s wife, Chen Mingxian, and his older brother were allowed to attend the proceedings, but the 19 others observers in the courtroom were there by government plan.
Liu, 43, a Suining city native, is one of the original signers of Charter 08, the document calling for democracy and constitutional reform drafted by 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.
ChinaAid president and founder Bob Fu condemns this excessively harsh sentence, which he calls “shocking.” ChinaAid has been supporting Liu’s family since his most recent arrest.
“This shocking and hideous sentence meted out to Mr Liu, a moderate democracy activist, marks a clear step backward in  China's rule of law,” Fu said. “Like what happened in Egypt, Yemen and Lybia, China’s totalitarian government recently has acted with increasingly blunt disregard for its own citizens’ basic rights. This should further alarm the free world and vividly demonstrates how dire the consequences of appeasement and inaction are.”
Liu is at least the 35th person convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” since 1997, when it was written into the penal code. Its precursor was the revolutionary-era crime of “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement.” This is Liu’s second conviction of “inciting subversion of state power.” In 1999, he was convicted of the same charge and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.
Liu's most recent treason indictment and conviction stems from his writing, which has been published in overseas publications or disseminated via the Internet that the Suining police found subversive. They included People and Human Rights, Beijing Spring, China Weekly, Democratic China, China Human Rights Semi-weekly. The police said in its “indictment advice” to government prosecutors that Liu had “slandered the people's democratic dictatorship political power led by the Chinese Communist Party as ‘autocratic rule’ and on several occasions incited the overthrow of our country's political regime and socialist system.”
Liu, who writes under the pen name Wan Xianming and is also known as Liu Cheng, was an active participant in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy in Beijing, where he was a student at People’s University at the time.
He continued his political activism even after the bloody June 4 army crackdown on the Tiananmen protests, and on April 15, 19991 was arrested by Beijing police and detained in Beijing’s notorious Qincheng prison, which has been the prison of choice for holding some of China’s most famous political prisoners, including Wei Jingsheng, perhaps China’s most well-known “counter-revolutionary.”
On Dec. 28, 1992, he was convicted of having engaged in “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement” and given a 2-1/2 year sentence. He was released in October 1993 after serving his full term.
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