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Chinese dissident gets 10-year sentence

Anti-government article lands man in jail

Chinese authorities have sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for posting an anti-government article on the internet, a human rights advocacy group has said.

Ren Zhiyuan, a secondary school teacher from Shandong province, was handed the sentence after being found guilty of "subversion of state power", HRIC (Human Rights in China) said in a statement. Ren was detained by police on 10 May 2005, the group said.

Citing a copy of the indictment, HRIC said Ren was detained because of an article he wrote entitled 'The Road to Democracy', in which he wrote that people have the right to violently overthrown a tyrannical government. Ren was also suspected of planning the establishment of an anti-government group called Mainland Democracy Frontline, HRIC said.

During his trial, Ren pleaded innocent to the charges, HRIC said.

Reporters Without Borders, a press advocacy group based in France, issued a statement that criticised the conviction of Ren, saying his views reflected the ideological underpinnings of China's government.

"The Communist Manifesto, written in 1848 by Marx and Engels, and on which the Chinese Communist Party’s ideology is still based today, itself ends with these words: 'The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions,'" Reporters Without Borders said.

Ren's lawyer plans to appeal his case, HRIC said.


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