China convicts Christian lawyer of subverting state power

China convicts Christian lawyer of subverting state power

BEIJING — A Chinese court has convicted a prominent Christian human rights lawyer on charges of subverting state power and sentenced him to three years in prison, with the sentence suspended for four years, the court said Friday.

Li Heping was one of hundreds detained in July 2015 in a crackdown by Chinese authorities on rights lawyers and activists. He is among four lawyers and a number of activists still in detention. According to law, he will not have to serve the three-year sentence if he doesn’t commit any other offences during the four-year suspension period, although he has already been detained for almost two years.

As a lawyer, Li defended dissidents, victims of forced evictions and members of the banned Falun Gong meditation sect.

The Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court said in an online statement that Li’s trial was held Tuesday behind closed doors because the case involved state secrets.

It said that since 2008 Li had repeatedly used the internet and interviews with foreign media to discredit and attack state power and the legal system. It said he had also used unspecified foreign funds to intervene in high-profile legal cases and colluded with unnamed “illegal religious activists,” some lawyers and other people with the aim of making citizens feel dissatisfied with Chinese institutions.

President Xi Jinping has spearheaded a crackdown on civil society under which some lawyers have been labeled threats to national security. Critics say the crackdown is aimed at snuffing out any potential opposition to the ruling Communist Party. Western governments have urged Chinese authorities to release the lawyers and activists.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

Fernie local apprehended after break and enter

Elk Valley RCMP Early in the morning of Saturday, March 17, an… Continue reading

Former Riders coach reflects

Mohr looking for new opportunities after contract ends

Athletes ready for world stage

Three Fernie athletes to compete in the world’s biggest junior freeride competition.

Hydro prices to surge

Elk Valley businesses brace for 3 per cent Hydro rate increase.

Elk Valley rallies for car fire victim

Aussie loses everything in car fire

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Sparwood skaters impress

Club farewells coach

Army cadets test survival skills

Cadets endure -18C conditions

Exhibition builds compassion

Opioid use in focus

Medicinal cannabis patient shares story

Fernie mom spreads compassion

Epic deal for FAR

RCR signs new partnership

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle

Ride-hailing company suspends all road-testing of such vehicles in U.S. and Canada

Most Read