(Dawn.com) -A Chinese court sentenced Taiwanese democracy activist Lee Ming-cheh to five years in prison on Tuesday on charges of attempting to subvert state power, further souring cross-strait ties.
Lee sat nervously as the three-judge panel read the sentence at the Yueyang intermediate people’s court in central Hunan province, according to a video posted on the tribunal’s social media account.
Taiwan and human rights groups immediately denounced the ruling as “unacceptable” and “politically motivated”.
Lee, an NGO worker who was arrested during a trip to the Chinese mainland in March, is the first Taiwanese person to be convicted in China on the political charge, according to Taiwan’s Judicial Reform Foundation.
A Chinese co-defendant named Peng Yuhua was sentenced to seven years in prison. The court said both men stated that they would not appeal their sentences.
President Xi Jinping, who consolidated power at a Communist Party congress last month, has cracked down on dissent and tightened control on civil society since taking office in 2012.
Lee had confessed to the charges during his trial in September, stating that he had written and distributed online articles that criticised China’s ruling Communist Party and promoted democracy among other topics.
His wife, Lee Ching-yu, who attended the sentencing, said her husband had “paid the price” for his ideals.