August 25, 2006


Chinese Peasants’ Advocate Sentenced to 51 Months in Jail (JOSEPH KAHN, 8/25/06, NY Times)

A Chinese court sentenced an advocate of peasants’ rights to more than four years in prison on Thursday after a trial his lawyers say was a sham.

The rights advocate, Chen Guangcheng, was convicted of destroying property and organizing a mob to block traffic. He earned the enmity of local Communist Party leaders in Shandong Province, in eastern China, when he sought to organize a class-action lawsuit against forced abortions and sterilizations there.

The New China News Agency announced the sentence, four years and three months, in a terse dispatch on its English-language news wire. The information did not appear in Chinese, and other state-run media have been banned from reporting on the matter.

Mr. Chen’s two-hour trial last week and the long sentence announced Thursday appear to reflect a concerted effort by Chinese authorities to punish lawyers and rights advocates, who increasingly in recent years have helped defend people aggrieved about land seizures, environmental abuses, religious persecution and population controls.

China jails New York Times researcher
(Associated Press, 8/25/06)
A Chinese researcher for The New York Times was acquitted Friday of state secrets charges but was convicted of fraud and sentenced to three years in prison, one of his defense lawyers said.

Zhao Yan, 44, was detained in 2004. The government has not released details of the charges, but the case is believed to stem from a Times report on then-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin's plans to relinquish his post as head of the military.

Mr. Zhao's lawyer, Guan Anping, said he didn't know whether Mr. Zhao would appeal the conviction, which was handed down by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court.

Mr. Zhao's case was dismissed in March in an apparent effort to minimize strains with Washington before President Hu Jintao visited the United States. The charges were later refiled and Mr. Zhao stood trial in June.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 25, 2006 9:05 AM
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