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Beijing, April 10 – Two prominent Chinese activists have been jailed for subversion after more than three years in detention, according to media reports.
The wife of lawyer Ding Jiaxi tweeted that he was handed a 12-year jail term by a court in Shandong province, the BBC reported.
She added that the other activist, legal scholar Xu Zhiyong, was jailed for 14 years.
Their closed-door trial took place in June 2022.
They were separately detained in 2019 and 2020 as part of a sprawling crackdown on legal activists.
In 2010, Ding and Xu co-founded the New Citizens’ Movement, which campaigns for civil rights and government transparency.
The pair were first arrested in 2013 for their roles in protests calling for equal social and educational benefits for migrant workers in Beijing, the BBC reported.
“The Chinese people are still living in a state of political oppression, economic control, and ideological enslavement,” said Ding in a statement published shortly before the verdict.
“I have faced many doubts, encountered many difficulties, and suffered many setbacks. I have personally been tortured. None of this will change my steadfast philosophy.”
Earlier in February, Chinese police detained at least five activists who supported recent mass protests in two major cities against the slashing of retirees’ medical insurance benefits earlier this month, Radio Free Asia reported.
Among those detained was veteran rights activist Zhang Hai, who was picked up by authorities in the southern city of Shenzhen, a resident of Wuhan who gave only the surname Zhang said.
“One of five people detained in connection with the silver protests was Zhang Hai — I heard he was detained in Shenzhen,” the woman said.
“There was also a 23-year-old man who was detained for singing The Internationale with some older people.”
The detentions come after thousands of people took to the streets of Wuhan and Dalian on February 15 in a second mass protest over major cuts to their medical benefits, RFA reported.