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Chinese net journo on 'subversion' rap

Faces possible 15 years' jail

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A Chinese net writer faces a possible 15 years' jail after being charged with attempting to "subvert state power", Reuters reports.

Yang Tianshui, 45, who served 10 years for "counter-revolutionary" crimes and was released back in 2000, allegedly posted pieces online "supporting the 'Velvet Action of China'," his lawyer Li Jianqiang told the news agency by phone.

The "Velvet Action" movement - named after Czechoslovakia's "Velvet Revolution" - last year conducted an "online ballot for government leaders", which apparently attracted little interest in the form of just 500 votes.

Yang is a member of International PEN, an organisation dedicated "to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere, to fight for freedom of expression and represent the conscience of world literature".

The Chinese chapter of International PEN says, "at least five writers were jailed for up to 10 years last year as part of a government crackdown on free speech", Reuters notes.

Yang's trial is due to begin in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu, in May. His lawyer said he is also accused of "illegally receiving overseas financial assistance and plotting to form the Jiangsu and Anhui provincial chapters of the outlawed China Democracy Party". ®

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