A Chinese prodemocracy activist was sentenced Sept. 17 to one year in prison, suspended for three years, for ramming his car into a police blockade last June in front of the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo.

According to the ruling at the Tokyo District Court, Li Shen, 29, interfered with police officers on duty by suddenly starting his car and driving it into a blockade, ignoring officers’ warnings to stop. The incident took place on June 4 — the eighth anniversary of the military crackdown in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square — when Li was participating in a demonstration in front of the Chinese Embassy.

Li, a leading member of a group calling for the democratization of China, was one of about 15 activists who were involved in the incident. “Although (the sentence) is longer than I expected, I will respect the decision by the Japanese court,” Li said after the ruling, adding that he does not intend to appeal.

“We find the guilty decision unjust,” said Zhao Nan, leader of the Federation for a Democratic China, after hearing the sentence. “We’d always conducted our demonstrations peacefully, but police were on extra alert this year,” he said. “I wish the Japanese government were as supportive as the United States or Canada is of our movement.”

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