China on Tuesday sentenced a protuberant rights activist to eight years in jail for subversion. His lawyer said that this is the harshest sentence passed in a government crackdown on activism that began more than two years ago. In another case, the Chinese court trying him said that a rights lawyer avoided criminal punishment despite being found guilty of inciting subversion, because he admitted his crimes.
Reuters told that a lawyer named Yan Xin said that a blogger, Wu Gan, also known by his online name Super Vulgar Butcher, plans to appeal against the eight-year sentence handed down by the Tianjin Municipality’s No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court. The severity of the sentence also prompted the German embassy in Beijing to issue a statement expressing their disappointment. Wu regularly supported sensitive cases where the government abused their power, both online and in street protests. He was detained in May 2015 and was charged with subversion.
In a statement by the court and posted on the website, the activist also disapproved China’s political system online and said that he used performance art to create disturbances as well as insulted people and spread false information. The court also said that he carried out many criminal actions to disrupt the state power and overthrow the socialist system and moreover, he seriously harmed the state security and social stability.
Kit Chan, Hong Kong-based director of China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group said that Wu’s refusal to bow to pressure explains his harsh sentence and he is being punished for his non-conformity. In another case, Xie Yang, the rights lawyer, received no sentence after being found guilty of provoking subversion and disrupting court order.
Patrick Poon, Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International observed that both sentences are handed after Christmas, as attention will be less from diplomats and international media.