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Chinese Writer Sentenced to 10 Years for "Subversive" Essays

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A Chinese court has sentenced a dissident writer to prison for "inciting subversion". Chen Xi was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday after writing essays critical of the ruling Communist Party. Here's more.

A Chinese court sentenced a veteran dissident on Monday to 10 years in jail for subversion.

57-year-old Chen Xi was convicted over 36 essays critical of the ruling Communist Party that he published on overseas Chinese websites, according to his wife, Zhang Qunxuan.

Chen's wife says the court in Guiyang, southwest China, tried Chen and declared him guilty of "inciting subversion of state power", and said he deserved a tough sentence of a decade in prison.

[Zhang Qunxuan, Wife of Chen Xi]:
"At the end of the trial, Chen Xi said, 'I am a law-abiding person. I respect the court's verdict. I will not appeal, but I am innocent.' This is his attitude in the end."

Chen has been jailed twice before -- he was jailed for three years for his support of the 1989 pro-democracy protests, and again in 1996. Since his release in 2005, Chen had been an organizer of a citizens' human rights forum in Guiyang.

Chen's wife said he continued to speak out despite the risks.

[Zhang Qunxuan, Wife of Chen Xi]:
"If the government wants democracy and progression, you need people who speak out their negative opinions. This is not to say to overthrow you. To subvert you - can he do that? Does he have any army? Does he have a police force? Does he have courts? With a piece of paper and a pen, can he subvert you? Are you so fragile? So what they say is quite naïve, I'm telling you, it's unreasonable."

"Inciting subversion" is a charge often used to punish dissidents critical of the Communist Party, and China's Party-run courts rarely find in favor of defendants in trials, especially for political charges.