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China jails prominent rights activist for four years

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 01:36

Jan. 26 - Activist Xu Zhiyong is sentenced to four years in prison, after he campaigned for the rights of children from rural areas to be educated in cities and for officials to disclose their assets. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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Chaotic scenes outside a Chinese court - after one of the country's most prominent rights advocates is sentenced to four years in prison. Xu Zhiyong was found guilty on Sunday of - quote - "gathering a crowd to disturb public order." His lawyer weighed in on the court's decision: (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) LAWYER ZHANG QINGFANG, SAYING: "This verdict is not just. But we do not accept the court's (ruling). And we can't say anything in the court." Zhiyong had campaigned for the rights of children from rural areas to be educated in cities. And for officials to disclose their assets. Furious at the ruling, this pro-democracy demonstrator held her own protest in Hong Kong, throwing paper money for the dead in front of the Chinese National Emblem. Symbolic of the death of law in mainland China. (SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) LUI YUK-LIN, PROTESTER, SAYING: "How can you sentence someone to four years like this? He is innocent. There is no rule of law in mainland China. So that's why I'm here even though I am alone. Sentencing him to four years in jail is so unfair." On the same day, another of China's most prominent dissidents, Hu Jia, was detained by police on a charge of "suspicion of causing a disturbance." Jia spoke to journalists over the phone: (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST HU JIA SAYING: "I'm in a police car right now heading to the police station. After we get to the police station, I'm not sure what will be next..." Hu was jailed in 2008 for 3 1/2 years for criticizing human rights restrictions -- in a country that's in the midst of a crackdown on freedom of speech.

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China jails prominent rights activist for four years

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 01:36