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China jails four anti-corruption activists linked to New Citizens’ Movement

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Four anti-corruption activists linked to the New Citizens’ Movement – which campaigns for government transparency – have been jailed by a Chinese court.

Human rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi was jailed for three and a half years, while veteran activist Zhao Changqing was jailed for two and a half years.

Activists Zhang Baocheng and Li Wei each received two-year sentences.

The verdicts come after Beijing’s high court upheld a four-year jail term given to movement founder Xu Zhiyong.

Four anti-corruption activists linked to the New Citizens' Movement have been jailed by Beijing court

Four anti-corruption activists linked to the New Citizens’ Movement have been jailed by Beijing court

The New Citizens’ Movement a loose network of activists is campaigning for government officials to disclose their wealth.

Xu Zhiyong had appealed against his sentence for “gathering crowds to disrupt public order”.

The four activists were charged with the same offence, Beijing’s Haidian District People’s Court said in a blog post.


Zhang Baocheng’s lawyer, Ge Yongxi, told the AFP news agency that the ruling was “a warning and a threat”.

“We think he’s completely innocent; there is no legal basis for the court’s ruling, and the punishment is too heavy,” Ge Yongxi said.

The ruling Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly vowed to crack down on corruption – but the party has also tried critics and anti-corruption activists.

Human rights groups said the crackdown on the activists was part of a wider campaign against civil society by the government, despite President Xi Jinping’s high-profile public campaign against corruption.

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