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China Convicts Two More Anti-Corruption Activists


China's Communist Party is continuing its crackdown on government critics by convicting two more anti-corruption activists.

A Beijing court on Wednesday found Hou Xin and Yuan Dong guilty of "gathering a crowd to disturb public order."

They are members of the grassroots New Citizens movement, which calls for officials to disclose their assets and for education equality.

Yuan was sentenced to one and a half years in prison. Hou was able to avoid prison time because the court said her crime was "less serious."

The convictions come days after movement founder Xu Zhiyong was sentenced to four years in jail in a ruling that provoked international condemnation.

Daniel Delk with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said Washington is "deeply disappointed" in the convictions.

"We're deeply disappointed that Yuan Dong, a good governance advocate, has been convicted and sentenced to one and a half years in prison. We are concerned that today's conviction, like that of legal scholar and rights advocate Xu Zhiyong just earlier this week, is retribution for his public campaign to expose official corruption and for the peaceful expression of his views," said Delk.

The State Department said it is concerned that the prosecutions in China's Communist Party-controlled courts are retribution for the activists' public campaign to expose corruption.

Although the group does support democracy and the rule of law, some of its ideals are at least similar to that of the stated goals of the Communist Party, which has also vowed to crack down on corruption.

Since coming to power last year, the party's chairman, President Xi Jinping, has launched an anti-graft campaign that has brought down several lower and mid-level officials accused of corruption.

However, Beijing has reacted angrily to the notion of a citizen-led anti-corruption campaign, arresting at least 20 people who made public calls for officials to publicly disclose their assets.
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