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Chinese Dissident Sentenced To Nine Years For Essays

A Chinese court has sentenced dissident writer Chen Wei to nine years in jail for publishing pro-democracy essays on the Internet.

Chen's lawyer, Zheng Jianwei, said the court in Suining, a city in the southern Sichuan Province, had found Chen guilty of "inciting the subversion of state power."

The lawyer said that, after the verdict on December 23, Chen declared that China's dictatorship would fall and that constitutional democracy would prevail.

Lawyers said the writer insists that he is innocent, because there is no law in China against a citizen expressing his opinions.

A Reuters report quotes Chen's wife as saying the essays behind his prosecution had been published on overseas Chinese websites and were not widely available inside China.

Chen is one of a number of Chinese activists who were detained in February in the wake of the pro-reform "Arab Spring" movements that had led to calls for similar antigovernment demonstrations in China.

compiled from agency reports