Date
23 March 2017
Screen grab from Chinese state television shows Hu Shigen during his trial in a Tianjin court. Source: CCTV
Screen grab from Chinese state television shows Hu Shigen during his trial in a Tianjin court. Source: CCTV

China hands jail term to democracy advocate and church leader

A court in the Chinese city of Tianjin on Wednesday sentenced a democracy and religious freedom advocate to seven-and-a-half years in prison.

Hu Shigen (胡石根), 61, was handed the jail term after he was charged with subverting state power. 

He was among those detained in a crackdown against rights activists and lawyers last year.

During the trial, he pleaded guility and decided against appealing the sentence, according to state media.

Prosecutors had accused Hu of using illegal religious groups to spread subversive thoughts and ideas, state news agency Xinhua said.

The New York Times noted that the activist and religious leader had already served a 16-year prison term for helping publicize Beijing’s assault on student protesters near Tiananmen Square in 1989.

As a Christian, Hu has also led several underground churches.

Prosecutors accused him of trying to manipulate public opinion to overthrow the government.

Hu pleaded guilty, but his friends believe the admission may have been coerced.

Hu was the second activist to be sentenced this week in Tianjin as part of a series of trials on rights activists.

On Tuesday, activist Zhai Yanmin was handed a suspended three-year jail term for organizing protests critical of the government.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

RA/RC

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe