2011/12/30

Berlin 'concerned' at China's crackdown on dissidents

BERLIN, December 30, 2011 (AFP) - Germany is "deeply concerned" at long jail sentences handed down to two Chinese activists and the way the trial of a third was conducted, a government spokesman said Friday.

"The government is deeply concerned about the Chinese justice system's proceedings against dissidents," Georg Streiter told a regular news conference.

"The chancellor calls on the Chinese government to release all persons held in custody for peacefully exercising their constitutional right to free expression," he added.

The judgements against veteran activist Chen Xi on Monday and Chen Wei last Friday came in the context of proceedings against China's human rights movement, he said, also referring to the case of rights activist Ni Yulan.

Amid a spreading crackdown on dissent, a Beijing court failed to reach a verdict Thursday after the trial of Ni and her husband, who have long helped victims of land grabs.

Chen Xi, who was involved in the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protest movement, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for subversion. Chen Wei was jailed for nine years on the same charge.