Beijing, Dec. 25 (ANI): China's leading dissident, Liu Xiaobo, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Friday after a court found the 53-year-old literary scholar guilty of "inciting subversion to state power" through his writings and role in Charter 08, a petition advocating human rights, free speech and an end to one-party rule.
The sentencing sent a signal that the Chinese Communist Party will continue to stifle domestic political critics, especially those who seek to organize their fellow Chinese.
According to the Dui Hua Foundation, a San Francisco-based human rights group, Liu's sentence was longer than any other sentence handed down for "inciting subversion" since the charge was established in the 1997 reform of the criminal law.
"You can think democracy, you can talk democracy, but you can't do democracy," the China Daily quoted Li Fan, director of the World and China Institute in Beijing, as saying.
Rebecca MacKinnon, a fellow at the Open Society Institute and co-founder of GlobalVoicesOnline.org, said the case "certainly seems to reflect a high level of sensitivity and very low level of tolerance."
There was little evidence of openness in the handling of Liu's case this week.
His trial, which took place at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, lasted less than three hours Wednesday.
The judge rejected evidence the defense sought to introduce and limited the speaking time of Liu's attorneys to 14 minutes, according to one of Liu's brothers.
He said that 18 mostly young people were allowed to listen to the proceedings but that Liu's wife, Liu Xia, could not. She did attend the Friday sentencing, marking only the third time she had seen her husband since he was detained more than a year ago.
The judge also barred journalists and foreign diplomats from attending. (ANI)