UN decries sentencing of Chinese dissident

The human rights commissioner of the United Nations on Friday expressed concern about the 11-year prison term handed down to a prominent Chinese dissident, dpa reported.
“The conviction and extremely harsh sentencing of Liu Xiabo mark a further severe restriction on the scope of freedom of expression in China,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement.
Pillay called the sentencing the latest example of a crackdown on human rights in China.
Liu, 53, was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power,” a verdict that was met with a firestorm of international protest.
Chinese intellectuals said they saw it as an attempt by the government to intimidate all critics of the Communist regime while the United States said it was “deeply concerned” and called for Liu’s release.
Liu’s closed-door trial before the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court lasted less than three hours Wednesday and was condemned by human rights groups as politically motivated and aimed at placing a leading critic of the Chinese government behind bars.
Liu was detained in December 2008, shortly before the release of Charter ’08 for democratic reform in China, which he co-organized.
In the charter, 303 leading dissidents, activists and writers set out their ideals for transforming China into a liberal democracy and lamented a lack of “freedom, equality and human rights” under the ruling Communist Party.