China court gives suspended sentence to controversial writer

China court gives suspended sentence to controversial writer

[JURIST] Chinese writer Huang Zerong, known also by his pen name Tie Liu, on Wednesday received a suspended 2.5 year prison sentence for charges of running an illegal business. Zerong was sentenced for allegedly publishing [JURIST report] articles critical of Communist Party propaganda chief Liu Yunshan [Brookings backgrounder]. The 81-year-old has been detained since September and has denied [AP report] the charges against him. Previously, Huang spent 23 years in prison after being labeled [BBC report] a “rightist” by the Chinese regime during Mao Zedong’s crackdown [Britannica backgrounder] on liberals, and his name was later cleared by the Communist Party in 1980.

China has faced international criticism for its crackdown on dissidents. In September the legal defense team representing prominent Chinese human rights activist Guo Feixiong [CHRD profile], decided to boycott [JURIST report] the start of Guo’s pending trial over procedural irregularities, which resulted in adjournment of the proceedings at the Guangzhou People’s Court in Southern China. In June a Chinese court denied bail [JURIST report] to prominent human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who is likely to be indicted in the country’s attempt to deter growing legal activism. Pu was detained [JURIST report] in May for “causing a disturbance” after he attended a weekend meeting that urged an investigation into the 1989 crackdown of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.