Tens of thousands of people take part in a candlelight vigil at Hong Kong's Victoria Park in June 2014, to mark the 25th anniversary of the military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.  File picture: REUTERS
Tens of thousands of people take part in a candlelight vigil at Hong Kong's Victoria Park in June 2014, to mark the 25th anniversary of the military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. File picture: REUTERS

Beijing — On Friday, a prominent Chinese labour activist was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for "inciting subversion" through a written account of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, his lawyer told AFP.

Liu Shaoming, a former factory worker, was detained in southern Guangdong province in May 2015 after describing his involvement in the pro-democracy movement on a US website.

Liu’s lawyer, Wu Kuiming, told AFP the verdict was announced by the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court. "His crime is ‘inciting subversion of state power’," Wu said. "The evidence is some online articles he wrote to recall the June 4 event." Wu said they will appeal the court decision.

Several Chinese rights advocates have been jailed for trying to keep alive the memory of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement that was crushed by the military. Hundreds of civilians — more than 1,000 by some estimates — are believed to have died in the crackdown.

Liu, who was featured earlier this year in the documentary We the Workers, travelled to Beijing to join the student-led demonstrations. According to Amnesty International, he was also a member of China’s first independent trade union.

"This is a most callous and unjust verdict against Liu Shaoming," William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International, said in a statement. "He is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released. All that Liu Shaoming is guilty of is the legitimate exercise of his freedom of expression."

AFP

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