BEIJING - A Chinese court sentenced one of China's most prominent rights advocates to four years in prison on Sunday after he campaigned for the rights of children from rural areas to be educated in cities and for officials to disclose their assets.
The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court found Xu Zhiyong guilty of "gathering a crowd to disturb public order", the court said on its official microblog. Xu was tried on Wednesday.
Xu's jailing will send a stark warning to activists that the Chinese Communist Party will crush any challenge to its rule, especially from those who seek to organize campaigns.
It also diminishes hopes for meaningful political change, even as China pledges to embark on economic reforms.
The government has waged a 10-month drive against Xu's "New Citizens' Movement", which advocates working within the system to press for change. Hundreds of Chinese citizens have participated in activities related to the movement, according to rights activists.