12/23/2011, 00.00
CHINA

Chen Wei, Tiananmen and "jasmine revolution"activist, jailed for 9 years

It is one of the heaviest sentences in recent years. The charges of "subversion" are based on articles – highly popular - published on the internet in which democracy is proposed as a better path to the dictatorship of the Communist Party of China. Chen "is a repeat offender": active at the time of Tiananmen, he served several years in prison and is one of the leaders of the democratic movement in Sichuan. A similar pattern to that of 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo,.
Beijing (AsiaNews / CHRD) - Chen Wei, a veteran Chinese democracy activist, was sentenced today to 9 years in prison and two years deprivation of his rights by a court in Suining (Sichuan). Chen Wei was accused of "incitement to subvert state power" for publishing some pro-democracy articles on the Internet calling for a "jasmine revolution." The sentence against him is among the heaviest imposed on an activist in recent years.

Liang Xiaojun, one of Chen's lawyers says the ruling "was a predetermined verdict." Chen Wei was not allowed to make any statement, he was immediately dragged away from the court and crying out: "I'm not guilty! Constitutional democracy will prevail! The dictatorship will fail. "

In the list of charges, the Suning prosecutor shows some "evidence" of Chen’s attempts to subvert. They are four articles written between March 2009 and January 2011: " The Disease of the System and the Medicine of Constitutional Democracy,” “The Key to China’s Democratization is the Growth of a Civil Opposition,” “The Feet of the Rights Defense [Movement] and the Brain of the Constitutional Democracy Movement,” and “Thoughts on Human Rights Day Hunger Strike."

The indictment also references specific language contained in these essays as “evidence” of “spreading rumors” and “defamation”: “people have been deprived of their thoughts and beliefs,” “the Chinese Communist Party uses the machinery of violence to control the people,” and the CCP is the “enemy of democracy,” etc ..

The indictment further points to these phrases in Chen’s essays as “evidence” of “incitement”: “the death knell for the one-party dictatorship has been sounded,” “this system must be changed,” and “use street protests to promote politics among the people.” The prosecutor tried to show that since Chen's articles were linked and circulated in many web pages, they have had "a bad effect." He convinced the judges – as if there was a need - that since Chen Wei was convicted in the past of counterrevolutionary activities" (at the time of Tiananmen), the sentence was to be heavy because he is a repeat offender.

The trial, the charges and sentencing are reminiscent of what happened to Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate, sentenced to 11 years in prison for some popular articles on the internet.

At least 200 police blocked the streets around the court, prohibiting entry to friends and other activists. A group of them, including Duan Qixian and Zhang Wei, , both from Guangxi, were detained by police.

Chen was arrested on February 20, during a few timid attempts in China to trigger a "jasmine revolution" similar to that of the Arab countries. He was only formally charged with "subversion" on March 28 and held in prison Suining. His lawyer was only able to meet three times before trial.

Chen Wei, 42, was born in Suning. In 1989, as a student of Beijing Institute of Technology, he participated in the protests in Tiananmen Square and was convicted and locked up in prison Qincheng. In May 1992 he was released, but about a year and a half later he was arrested again for trying to commemorate the dead of Tiananmen. For this he was sentenced to five years in prison. In recent years Wei has become one of the leaders of the democratic movement in Sichuan.


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