China dissident Zhu Yufu gets seven years jail for poem

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A court in eastern China has sentenced dissident writer Zhu Yufu to seven years in jail for a poem found to have incited subversion, rights groups say.

The court in Hangzhou ruled that Mr Zhu's poem It's Time, urging people to gather in support of freedom, deserved stern punishment, his son said.

The poem was published online. Mr Zhu was formally arrested last April.

Three other dissidents have also received prison terms on subversion charges in the last few months.

Mr Zhu's hearing was attended by his former wife and his son.

"The court verdict said this was a serious crime that deserved stern punishment," his son, Zhu Ang, was quoted by news agency Reuters as saying.

"Basically, the only chance that my father had to say anything was when he was being taken out after the hearing, and he stopped and said, 'I want to appeal'."

Mr Zhu, a veteran activist who turns 59 this month, was involved in the 1979 Democracy Wall movement, which pressed for faster change in China.

He has been jailed twice before for his activism - in 1999 for seven years and in 2007 for two years.

A verse of his poem reads: "It's time, Chinese people! / The square belongs to everyone / the feet are yours / it's time to use your feet and take to the square to make a choice."

In December, prominent activists Chen Wei from Sichuan and Chen Xi from Guizhou were also sentenced to prison terms for inciting subversion of state power.

The charge is often used against critics of the Communist Party.

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