Chinese dissident appeals subversion conviction

AP News
Posted: Jan 04, 2010 6:42 AM

An imprisoned Chinese dissident has appealed his conviction on subversion charges tied to his co-writing of a daring call for political reform of the communist state, his lawyer said Monday.

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced on Dec. 25 to 11 years in prison on the vaguely defined charge of incitement to subvert state power.

International human rights groups and Western nations have heavily criticized Liu's detention, trial and sentence _ seen by some as a direct slap at international pressure and a warning that the treatment for dissidents will become increasingly harsh.

Attorney Shang Baojun said Liu told him at a meeting on Monday that he submitted an appeal to the Beijing High Court on Dec. 29. Shang said the court had to rule on the appeal within six weeks.

"He believes that he is innocent. We are making an effort to defend his innocence, but we have no idea whether it will be successful," Shang said.

The 53-year-old literary critic co-wrote an unusually direct appeal to China's authorities titled "Charter 08" calling for expanded political freedoms and the end to Communist Party dominance. More than 300 people, including some of the country's top intellectuals, signed it before it was made public.

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Some 10,000 people have since signed the document online.

Liu, a former university professor, previously spent 20 months in jail for joining the 1989 student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, which ended when the government called in the military _ killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of demonstrators.