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China dissident writer sentenced to 4 years for inciting subversion

[JURIST] A Chinese court convicted dissident writer Lu Gengsong on subversion charges Tuesday, sentencing Lu to four years in prison for writing essays exposing corruption within the Communist Party of China (CPC) [official backgrounder]. Lu was arrested last October and charged [JURIST reports] in January with "inciting subversion of state power." Lu's lawyer says they plan to appeal the conviction.

In August 2007, Human Rights Watch reported that China, fearing that activists will embarrass the party by highlighting political and social problems during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, is clamping down on human rights activists [press release; JURIST report] and other political dissidents as well as silencing independent media coverage. The same month, Amnesty International reported [text; press release] that China has not kept its promises to improve human rights and press freedom [JURIST report] in preparation for the Olympics since the Chinese government has recently committed an increasing number of rights abuses against political and religious opponents.

In January, the CPC issued a list of "10 taboos" [JURIST report] for public officials as part of the government's attempt to fight corruption ahead of reshuffling of provisional leaderships posts. China has taken a hard line on corruption in recent months, punishing several officials with lengthy prison terms and the death penalty [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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