'Subversive' Chinese Writer Gets 9 Years in Prison
Chen Wei called for free speech, political reform
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 23, 2011 9:38 AM CST
Chen Wei has been sentenced to 9 years over 'subversive' writing.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A Chinese writer has been hit with a nine-year jail sentence for "inciting subversion of state power" after he posted online essays demanding free speech and government reform, reports the BBC. The sentence follows a two-hour, closed-door trial that Chen Wei's wife called "a performance" whose outcome was settled beforehand. Chen was one of hundreds detained following an online movement for Chinese protests echoing the Arab Spring, dubbed the Jasmine Revolution.

The sentence, accompanied by an additional two years in which Chen will be stripped of his political rights, is among the toughest faced in connection with the movement, the BBC notes. The writer's wife said he "did criticize the Communist Party, but that's stating the facts. That is not subversion." Chen, she said, is "a very patriotic man." At the trial, Chen reportedly said he wasn't guilty and asserted that "dictatorship will fail, democracy will prevail."