UN concerned about clampdown on human rights activities in China

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The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed deep concern over the "harsh" sentencing of several high profile Chinese human rights activists in the past week.

Most recently, Chen Xi, a pro-democracy activist was sentenced to 10 years for his online publications.

Last Friday, Chen Wei, was handed a 9 year jail term for "inciting subversion of state power" as a result of his involvement in drafting articles for overseas websites, including Democratic China, Human Rights in China and Chine E-Weekly.

He has pleaded not guilty and insists that he was exercising his freedom of opinion as guaranteed by the Chinese constitution.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the sentencing represented another setback for the protection and promotion of human rights in China.

"We are very worried because this is a further tightening of the already severe restrictions that we are seeing there and it seems to be that there is an escalating clamp down on the activities of human rights defenders in China. We call on the Chinese authorities to reverse any such trends and to release any person detained for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression."

Ms. Shamdasani notes that the two activists were convicted a week after a prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was sentenced to 3 years.

Duration: 20”

Filed under Today's News.
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