China awards 2-year jail term to human rights activist

Beijing: A Chinese court has sentenced a human rights defender to two years in prison on charges of inciting subversion of state power, non-profit Amnesty International said on Monday.

The rights group in a statement said the Intermediate People’s Court of Zhuhai City in southern China announced the verdict against Zhen Jianghua, the Executive Director of online platform Human Rights Campaign in China, on December 28.

The non-profit said the trial of the activist, who has worked with marginalized communities in China for decades, was carried out behind closed doors, “raising serious concerns about denial of his rights to a fair trial”, Efe news reported.

“Zhen has been persecuted solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and association,” it said.

The activist was also involved in a campaign against Internet censorship in China, and education and awareness work about HIV/AIDS prevention.

He was detained by the police on September 1, 2017, and later kept under house arrest at an undisclosed location.

Zhen was formally arrested on March 29, 2018 and charged with inciting subversion two days later.

The charge of inciting subversion is often used by the Chinese authorities against dissidents, activists and human rights advocates.