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Top China activist defiant in court

AFP-JIJI

A top Chinese legal activist defiantly denounced Beijing’s high court as “absurd” Friday as it upheld his prison sentence for supporting anti-graft protests, his lawyer said.

Xu Zhiyong, 40, was sentenced to four years in prison in January for backing demonstrations in which a handful of activists held up banners calling for government officials to disclose their assets, as Beijing cracks down on a burgeoning rights movement.

“This absurd judgment cannot halt the tide of human progress,” Xu’s lawyer, Zhang Qingfang, said he told the court. “The communist dictatorship is bound to disperse like haze, and the light of freedom and justice will illuminate the East.”

The legal scholar is a founder and central figure in the New Citizens Movement, a loose-knit network that campaigns on corruption, access to education and other issues.