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Friday, August 6, 1999 Published at 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Chinese dissident crackdown continues

China is preparing for the 50th anniversary of the revolution

A Chinese court has sentenced another pro-democracy activist to a lengthy jail term as part of an intensifying campaign against dissidents by the Chinese government.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes: "The most intense suppression in recent yeras"
Liu Xianbin, who was sentenced to 13 years in jail, was a member of the banned China Democracy Party (CDP) and stood accused of subverting state political power.

He is the fourth dissident to be jailed by Chinese courts this week.

She Wanbao, another member of the China Democracy Party received a 12 year sentence on Thursday, and two other party activists were sentenced to eight and nine years terms on Monday.

[ image:  ]
Correspondents say the Chinese Government is seeking to suppress all forms of political dissent in an effort to make the country appear stable for the 50th anniversary of Communist rule on 1 October.

Human rights groups say further trials are expected soon.

Last month the Chinese authorities banned the popular Falun Gong religious sect accusing it of seeking to develop political power.

Student protests

[ image: CDP leader Xu Wenli is serving 13 years]
CDP leader Xu Wenli is serving 13 years
Mr Liu spent two years in jail for his part in the 1989 student protests in Tiananmen Square. He helped establish the CDP in Sichuan and later played a leading role in co-ordinating party activities across China.

Mr Liu's wife, mother and sister-in-law who attended Friday's trial told reporters he was not given legal representation and spoke in his own defence.

At least eight CDP activists have reportedly been jailed since Nato's bombing of China's embassy in Yugoslavia in May, which put a freeze on China-US ties including dialogue on human rights.

The Hong Kong-based Information Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China says it expects another 20 members of the party could be tried this month.

It said Mr She - who was jailed in Thursday - was also ordered to be stripped of his political rights for three years after his release following a three-hour trial in the Sichuan city of Guangyuan.

Reports say Mr She had previously spent four years in prison for taking part in the 1989 democracy movement.

Hundreds arrested

The CDP was set up in 1998 during an apparent political thaw in China.

But Beijing moved to crush the group at the end of last year, sending scores of members to jail or to labour camp.

Over the past four months about 200 party members have been arrested and at least 65 are reported to be still in custody.

The main leaders, Xu Wenli, Qin Yongmin and Wang Youcai's received long jail sentences last December.

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