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China Sentences Teen-age Dissident

January 8, 2000

BEIJING (AP) _ A 19-year-old dissident in eastern China’s Jiangsu province has been sentenced to three years in prison on subversion charges, a human rights group reported Saturday.

The Xuzhou city Intermediate Court sentenced Wang Yingzheng late last month after a closed trial, and his family only discovered the verdict after receiving a letter, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said.

Family members who recently visited Wang were told he had been refusing food, the fifth time he has staged a hunger strike since he was arrested last February, the center said.

Wang is believed to have been convicted for writing an open letter to President Jiang Zemin urging the Communist Party to eradicate rampant corruption, the Information Center said.

Police seized Wang while he was photocopying an article he wrote about corruption. The article said the party would not be able to root out corruption unless it allowed opposition parties and freed the news media from state control, according to the group.

After graduating from high school, Wang helped Qin Yongmin, a veteran dissident, organize an opposition group, the China Democracy Party. Authorities refused to register the party legally and in December sentenced Qin to 12 years in prison.

Update hourly