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Taiwan resident sentenced to 5 years in jail for subversion

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Taiwan resident Lee Ming-che was sentenced to five years in prison for “subverting State power” on Tuesday in a court in Central China’s Hunan Province, reported Global Times (China).

Lee, 42, said in the Intermediate People's Court of Yueyang, Hunan Province, that he accepts the verdict and will not appeal. He will be deprived of his political rights for two years.

It is extremely rare for a Taiwan resident to be tried in the Chinese mainland for State subversion. Lee’s co-defendant Peng Yuhua, a Chinese mainland resident, was sentenced to seven years in prison under the same charge and deprived of political rights for two years.

Peng also accepted the verdict and said he will not appeal. The court said Peng was the ringleader and Lee was an active participant in their attempt to subvert State power, and that evidence was sufficient to prove that their actions constitute a crime.

The court also said they granted leniency to both defendants on the grounds that they made honest confessions after arrest and pleaded guilty during the trial. Lee and Peng stood trial in Hunan on September 12.

According to the indictment, Peng had set up multiple QQ chat groups starting in 2012 and recruited dozens of people dissatisfied with the Chinese government and the socialist system, including Lee.

In one of the QQ chat groups, Peng provided videos and books attacking the Chinese mainland's social system and advocating a Western political system. Peng asked the chat group’s core moderators to study these materials and submit study notes. Lee's notes had attacked the Chinese mainland's current social status and advocated a multi-party rule with rotating leadership, the indictment read.

The Taipei Times reported that Lee was an instructor at Wenshan Community College and a former Democratic Progressive Party employee. Taiwan media also said Lee was an NGO worker.

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A prominent human rights lawyer in China was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison on the vague charge of inciting subversion of state power, the latest verdict to be handed down in a sweeping crackdown on activism, reported The China Post (Taiwan).

The Intermediate People’s Court in the city of Changsha handed down the verdict against activist Jiang Tianyong in a hearing, according to an announcement on the court’s official account on the Sina Weibo micro-blogging platform.

The court posted footage of Jiang in a black down jacket sitting in a courtroom listening, expressionless, as a judge read out the verdict.

Prosecutors said he had used social media platforms to denigrate the government and judicial authorities and incited others to subvert state power; including fabricating claims that another lawyer, Xie Yang, had been tortured in custody.

Rights groups said the trial was a sham and that Jiang was caught as part of a campaign aimed at snuffing out any opposition to the ruling Communist Party.

Courts in China are controlled by the Communist Party and convictions are virtually assured. Human rights groups and victims say the extraction of coerced confessions, sometimes through the use of physical and psychological torture, is common, despite being banned by Chinese law.

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