March 25, 2011 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Cyber-dissident gets heavy jail term after unfair trial

Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that cyber-dissident Liu Xianbin was sentenced to ten years in jail today on a charge of inciting subversion of state authority after his right to a proper legal defence was repeatedly violated. Arrested on 28 June 2010 and held at the Suining detention centre in the southwestern province of Sichuan, Liu had access to just one of his lawyers, Ma Xiopeng, for a single meeting on 5 November 2010 (see the release). Ma learned of the date of his client’s trial just four days in advance and so had little time to prepare the case. The trial itself was a sham that lasted just a few hours, during which the defence was constantly interrupted. Aged 43, Liu has been convicted on subversion charges twice in the past and has already spent 12 years behind bars. He is one of the founders of the banned China Democracy Party and is a signatory of the Charter 08 manifesto, which Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo helped to draft. He was arrested last year for writing articles calling for reforms that were posted on the Internet. Reporters Without Borders calls for a review of the trial as the rights of the defence were not respected. The conviction should be overturned and Liu should be freed without delay. China jails more cyber-dissidents than any other nation and is on the list of “Enemies of the Internet” which Reporters Without Borders updated on 12 March.