Updated: 04/18/2014 12:29 | By Agence France-Presse

China court jails four anti-graft activists for protests

A Chinese court Friday sentenced four anti-corruption protestors to between two and three-and-a-half years in jail over their role in small-scale demonstrations, furthering a crackdown on rights activists.


China court jails four anti-graft activists for protests

Chinese police stand guard outside a court where two Chinese anti-corruption activists Ding Jiaxi and Li Wei were on trial in Beijing's Haidian district on April 8, 2014 - by Goh Chai Hin

The four were associated with the New Citizens Movement, a loose-knit network whose members held peaceful protests in Beijing last year, carrying banners calling for officials to disclose their assets as a measure against graft.

They were sentenced for "gathering a crowd to disturb public order", Beijing's Haidian district court said on an official microblog.

Ding Jiaxi, a well-known human rights lawyer, was jailed for three-and-a-half years, while veteran activist Zhao Changqing was jailed for two-and-a-half years, the court said.

Fellow protesters Zhang Baocheng and Li Wei both received two-year sentences.

The verdicts come days after Beijing's high court upheld a four-year sentence for Xu Zhiyong, a founder of the movement. Ten New Citizens Movement members have faced trial this year.

"The ruling is a warning and a threat," Ge Yongxi, a lawyer for Zhang Baocheng told AFP, adding that his client complied with police requests to hand over his banners when the protests, involving a handful of activists, were curtailed.

"We think he's completely innocent, there is no legal basis for the court's ruling, and the punishment is too heavy," Ge added.

China's ruling Communist Party has repeatedly vowed to combat rampant corruption, with President Xi Jinping threatening to target high-ranking "tigers" and low-level "flies" in the face of public anger over the issue.

But the party has cracked down on activists pursuing the same goals, viewing independently organised anti-corruption protests as a challenge to its tight grip on power.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。