Christmas means different things around the world, but in China one of the things it’s come to stand for crackdown. In recent years Chinese courts have chosen the holiday season as the time to hand down the harshest sentences to political dissenters, possibly in the belief that their rulings will received the least attention abroad. On Dec. 26 a court in the southwestern city of Guiyang sentenced longtime dissident Chen Xi to 10 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power,” Reuters reported.
Chen was active in the 1989 protest movement, organizing a pro-democracy group in Guiyang and later serving 13 years in prison after the government crushed the Tiananmen demonstrations. Chen Xi, who is also known as Chen Youcai, was arrested on Nov. 29, a week before the Guizhou Human Rights Forum, a group to which he belonged, was declared illegal, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an activist group.