Chinese Dissident Gets 13 Years for Arranging Meeting of Banned Party

BEIJING — A Chinese dissident who tried to organize a national meeting of the banned China Democracy Party has been sentenced to 13 years in jail for subverting state power, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Xie Changfa, 57, was tried in April and sentenced Tuesday by the Changsha Municipal Intermediate Court in the southern Chinese province of Hunan, his lawyer, Ma Gangquan, said by telephone. He plans to appeal, Mr. Ma said.

China allows a small number of officially recognized alternative parties, but they serve as advisers rather than competitors to the ruling Communist Party.

Founded by dissidents in mid-1998, the China Democracy Party was quashed six months later by the Communist Party. Dozens of founding members were arrested and sentenced to up to 13 years in prison, most on charges of subverting state power.

“The charges and judgment both say his crime relates to work he did to establish the party’s Hunan chapter and to his efforts to organize a national party meeting, but we have maintained all along that such activities are not crimes but in fact are the constitutional rights of all Chinese citizens,” Mr. Ma said.

The Chinese authorities have stepped up efforts to curb dissent in the lead-up to the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party’s rule on Oct. 1.

The Hunan police detained Mr. Xie in June 2008 after he discussed having a national congress for the China Democracy Party with fellow party members. That August, he was formally arrested and charged with subverting state power.


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