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China rights activist convicted of subversion denied appeal: lawyer

[JURIST] A lawyer for Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia [advocacy blog; JURIST news archive], sentenced [JURIST report] in early April to over three years in prison on charges of inciting subversion of state power [JURIST news archive], said Thursday that his client has been denied an appeal. Hu's lawyer said that Hu had 10 days to appeal his conviction, but that Hu's legal team was not allowed to visit Hu in prison to discuss an appeal. Hu was formally charged in February after he made public letters and recordings [JURIST reports] from Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng alleging that Gao was tortured into confessing to subversion charges.

Hu supporter Teng Biao, a lawyer who has defended political dissidents, was released by the Chinese government last month after spending two days in custody. In September 2007, Teng and Hu wrote an open letter [text] requesting that the international community investigate China's promises to improve its human rights record. In November 2007, rights group Dui Hua [advocacy website] reported that the number of political arrests in China more than doubled in 2006 [JURIST report]. The country has been harshly criticized in recent months for cracking down on human rights activists and political dissidents [JURIST report] ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

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