The People's Republic of China on Thursday sentenced a dissident to 3.5 years in prison for essays of his deemed critical of the Red Chinese goverment.
Hu Jia, 34, has been accused by the government of writing essays that create subversion. Some say the government there is trying to crack down on dissidents in an attempt to paint a rosy picture of China's communist society as the country gets ready for the 2008 Summer Olympic games.
International Herald Tribune reporter Jim Yardley further writes that Hu's wife, blogger and human rights advocate Zeng Jinyan, offered her thoughts as to why Hu was imprisoned: "The fundamental reason is to silence him. He had been speaking up and all he said was plain truth. It makes them unhappy. But they can do this to him because they're unhappy?"
Xinhua (pronounced "Sheen-hwa"), China's official news agency, quoted the court verdict on Hu: "Hu spread malicious rumors and committed libel in an attempt to subvert the state's political power and socialist system."
Chinese officials claim Hu confessed to the charges, but his attorney, Li Fangping, believes the sentence is not acceptable and that the charges are illegitimate.
Hu, according to the article, has 10 days to appeal and is suffering from Hepatitis B.