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Human rights website editor gets five years' jail

China | REUTERS Jan 31, 2019
A Chinese court sentenced the founder of a website that reported on human rights abuses to five years in jail for "inciting subversion" of state power, a verdict decried by a rights group as part of a campaign to bury grassroots activism. Since coming to power in 2012, President Xi Jinping has overseen a sweeping drive to stifle activism that challenges the ruling Communist Party. Liu Feiyue, the founder of msguancha.com, a news portal that covers government corruption, police abuses and human rights issues, was arrested in late 2016 and charged with "inciting subversion of state power." The Intermediate People's Court sentenced Liu to five years in prison and seized more than one million yuan (HK$1.17 million) of his personal assets, according to the website of the court in Suizhou city in Hubei province. "I really can't understand it. All I know is that Liu Feiyue just set up a website for internet users to write about social issues and inequality," Liu's mother, Ding Qihua, said. She said the sentence was harsher than expected, given that the family had hoped for leniency by complying fully with the court's requests. "Prosecuting the editor of a human rights website shows just how frightened the Chinese government is about independent reporting on abuses from inside China," said Yaqiu Wang, a Hong Kong-based researcher at Human Rights Watch. China rejects criticism of its human rights record, saying it is a country with rule of law, and that jailed rights lawyers and activists are criminals.


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