Steven Jiang
CNN
January 26, 2014

Xu Zhiyong, pictured here, is an active rights lawyer who helps the underprivileged. Credit: Shizhao via Wiki
Xu Zhiyong, pictured here, is an active rights lawyer who helps the underprivileged. Credit: Shizhao via Wiki

Xu Zhiyong, a high-profile Chinese activist accused of organizing protests against official corruption, has been convicted and sentenced to four years in prison, a Beijing court announced Sunday.

The U.S. State Department immediately released a statement saying the sentence was “retribution for his public campaign to expose corruption.”

Chinese prosecutors alleged that Xu Zhiyong “gathered a crowd to disturb public order” after a series of small protests. The demonstrators unfurled banners in Beijing calling for officials to publicly declare their assets, said Xu’s lawyer, Zhang Qingfang.

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