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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

UN Human Rights Chief deeply concerned by harsh sentencing of Chen Wei

December 30, 2011

UN Human Rights Chief deeply concerned by harsh sentencing of Chen Wei

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11742&LangID=E


GENEVA - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that she was deeply concerned about the verdict and extremely harsh sentence in the trial of leading human rights activist Chen Wei, adding that this represents another serious setback for the protection and promotion of human rights in China. The High Commissioner noted that the case comes just one week after Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment just before the end of his suspended sentence.

Chen was convicted on Wednesday of "inciting subversion of state power" as a result of his involvement in the drafting of articles on overseas websites, including Democratic China, Human Rights in China and China E-Weekly. Chen Wei was one of the student leaders in the 1989 Democracy Movement and has already spent more than five years in prison for his peaceful expression of dissent. On Friday, he was sentenced to nine years. Chen had pleaded not guilty and insisted he was exercising his freedom of opinion as guaranteed by the Chinese constitution.

"The conviction and extremely harsh sentencing of Chen Wei indicates a further tightening of the severe restrictions on the scope of freedom of expression in China that has been seen over the last two years," Pillay said.

"This verdict, along with the court's decision of last week on Gao Zhisheng, are the latest examples of an escalating clamp-down on the activities of human rights defenders in China," Pillay added.

"I call upon Chinese authorities to release any person detained for peacefully exercising his or her right to freedom of expression," the High Commissioner said.

ENDS

UN Human Rights - China: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/CNIndex.aspx

For media inquiries, please contact: Ravina Shamdasani, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9310 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org)

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