China puts 2 vet­eran democ­racy ac­tivists on trial amid crack­down

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Main­land China has put two vet­eran democ­racy ac­tivists on trial for “sub­ver­sion of state power,” one of their lawyers said Wed­nes­day, the latest pros­e­cu­tion in a sweep­ing crack­down on civil so­ci­ety.

Chen Shup­ing and Lu Geng­song face max­i­mum sen­tences of life in prison af­ter their trial which Chen’s at­tor­ney Fu Yong­gang said took place in the city of Hangzhou on Tues­day.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were based on their mem­ber­ship of the banned China Democ­racy Party, which calls for po­lit­i­cal re­form, he added.

“The pros­e­cu­tion had in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence show­ing they broke the law,” Fu told AFP. Re­fer­ring to the de­fen­dants, he said, “they just want to work to im­prove the lives of or­di­nary peo­ple and the state of the coun­try.”

About a dozen sup­port­ers of the two men were barred from en­ter­ing the court and in­stead gath­ered out­side be­hind po­lice cor­dons, Ra­dio Free Asia re­ported.

Chen was pre­vi­ously jailed in 2007 for four years for “in­cit­ing state sub­ver­sion,” based on ar­ti­cles he had writ­ten on over­seas web­sites crit­i­ciz­ing the main­land author­i­ties and ad­vo­cat­ing democ­racy.

Lu was sen­tenced to four years for the same crime in 2008.

Main­land China’s rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party un­der leader Xi Jin­ping has in re­cent years tight­ened a crack­down on in­tel­lec­tu­als, lawyers and ac­tivists crit­i­cal of the gov­ern­ment, with scores de­tained and dozens jailed.

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