The Intermediate People’s Court in Ningbo in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang convicted Zhang Jianhong, better known by his pen name is Li Hong, of “inciting to subvert state power,” lawyer Li Jianqiang told Reuters.
“The sentence is too heavy,” the lawyer said by telephone. “The accusations that Li Hong attacked the government through his essays is total nonsense. All he did was to exercise his freedom of speech guaranteed in China’s constitution.”
Zhang was detained last September and the “Aegean Sea” Web site he ran was shut down.
Court officials could not be reached for comment.
China is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, with at least 32 in custody, and another 50 Internet campaigners also in prison, according to Paris-based press watchdog Reporters Without Borders.
In August, a Beijing court jailed a Hong Kong-based reporter of Singapore’s Straits Times for five years on spying charges, days after a court jailed a Chinese researcher for the New York Times for three years for fraud but dismissed a more serious charge of illegally leaking state secrets.
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