Prominent human rights activist Xu Zhiyong has been sentenced to four years in prison, a Chinese court has ruled.
Xu Zhiyong, who campaigned for children’s rights and against corruption, was convicted of “gathering crowds to disrupt public order”.
Several other activists from a transparency movement are facing similar charges.
Rights groups have criticized President Xi Jinping – who pledged to fight corruption – over their cases.
Xu Zhiyong was arrested in July 2013 and the trial began on Wednesday.
Reacting to the verdict, Xu Zhiyong ‘s lawyer Zhang Qingfang said his client had told the court that “the last shred of dignity of China’s rule of law” had been destroyed.
Xu Zhiyong, who was also previously under house arrest, is a leading member of a group calling for officials to reveal their wealth.
The activist has also campaigned in behalf of inmates on death row and families affected by tainted baby milk formula, among other causes.
Many across China believe Xu Zhiyong was targeted by the government because of his rising popularity and his growing presence on Chinese social media platforms.
In 2009 Xu Zhiyong was arrested on tax evasion charges that were eventually dropped after public outcry.
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