Mainland court jails democracy activists


BEIJING, AP

A court has sentenced two democracy activists to jail terms of 10 and 11 years on charges of trying subvert the government, a human rights group said Friday.

Meanwhile, in Beijing, police took away the wife of mainland China’s most prominent jailed dissident after she embarked on a 24-hour fast to protest his treatment in prison.

He Xintong says her husband, veteran democracy activist Xu Wenli, is not getting adequate treatment for hepatitis contracted in jail.

Hu Mingjun and Wang Sen, the activists convicted of subversion, were sentenced Thursday by a court in Dazhou, a city in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

Hu was sentenced to 11 years and Wang to 10, the Hong Kong-based group said. Both are members of the China Democracy Party, a would-be opposition group set up by dissidents to challenge the Communist Party’s monopoly on power. Many of its leaders and members have been imprisoned.

In convicting Hu and Wang, Dazhou’s Intermediate People’s Court ruled that the party was an “enemy organization,” the Information Center said. The court accused them of organizing a protest in December 2000 by workers at a Dazhou iron and steel plant, the Information Center said.

The more than 1,000 workers were protesting because they had not been paid for a year, the center said. After Hu and Wang met some of them, the China Democracy Party’s Sichuan branch issued a statement supporting the protest, the center said. The statement demanded that the government allow workers to form independent trade unions, improve mainland China’s social security system and combat corruption, the center said.

Wang was arrested April 30, 2001, and Hu a month later, it said.