[JURIST] Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia [advocacy blog] was sentenced Thursday to 3.5 years in prison on charges of inciting subversion of state power [JURIST news archive]. Hu's trial [HRW case history; JURIST report] began last month; he was formally charged in February after he made public [JURIST reports] letters and recordings from Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng alleging that Gao was tortured into confessing to subversion charges. Hu has 10 days to appeal his conviction. AP has more.
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 and the country has been harshly criticized in recent months for cracking down on human rights activists and political dissidents [JURIST reports] ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.