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China rights activist sentenced to 11 years in prison for subversion

[JURIST] Chinese rights activist Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Friday on subversion charges. Liu was tried [JURIST report] on Wednesday in a trial that lasted only two hours and was closed to foreign diplomats. The trial was called "a travesty of justice" [press release] by international human rights groups. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] said before the trial that although "Liu's crimes are non-existent ... his fate has been pre-determined." It is unclear whether Liu's legal team will appeal the sentence [AFP report].

Liu, who spent two years in prison following the Tiananmen Square [BBC backgrounder] uprising, has long challenged China's one-party rule, and co-authored Charter 08 [text], a petition calling for political reforms in the country. Liu was formally arrested in June and charged [JURIST reports] earlier this month, but he has been in detention since last December, shortly before the petition's release. In June, rights groups marked the 20th anniversary of the 1989 uprising in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, calling for the government to investigate the incident [JURIST report] and implement changes called for by Charter 08.

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