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China sentences dissident Chen Wei for 9 years

Chen, a veteran activist, had published essays online calling for reform of China's one-party system, and was jailed for "inciting subversion of state power."

China chen wei 12 23 2011Enlarge
Inmates work in a sewing workshop at a prison in Chongqing Municipality, China. There are nearly 5,000 inmates in the prison. (China Photos/Getty Images)

China has sentenced dissident Chen Wei for nine years in jail for "inciting subversion of state power."

Chen, a veteran activist, had published essays online calling for reform of China's one-party system.

Acording to the BBC, he was one of hundreds of dissidents detained earlier this year in a crackdown by authorities following the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, amid calls for Chinese to launch an Arab Spring-style "Jasmine Revolution."

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According to the Associated Press, after the sentence was handed down, Chen told the court: 

“I protest. I am innocent. Constitutional democracy must win, autocracy must die.”

Chen's wife told the BBC the trial had been "just a show," and the verdict had been decided before it even began.

The BBC said the nine-year sentence is "significant and harsh," and "will certainly be seen as an attempt by the authorities to intimidate other dissidents thinking about speaking out."

Chen previously served time for participating in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests when he was a college student in Beijing, the AP said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/111223/china-dissident-chen-wei-sentenced-inciting-subversion