WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday urged China to release democracy activist Zhu Yufu after he was sentenced to seven years in prison.
"We are deeply concerned about these reports that he has been found guilty of inciting subversion of state power and sentenced to seven years in prison for writing a poem," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Washington is also "more broadly deeply concerned" about the harsh sentences of human rights activists and violence in Tibet that point to the "worsening human rights situation in China," Nuland told reporters.
"We call on the Chinese government to release Zhu Yufu and all others detained for exercising their rights and to respect the universal human rights of all their citizens," she added.
China jailed Zhu Yufu for seven years on Friday for inciting subversion of state power, his wife said, ahead of a high-profile trip to the United States by Vice President Xi Jinping.
Zhu was convicted for collecting donations for relatives of dissidents in jail, publishing a poem online urging people to gather and call for greater freedoms and giving media interviews, rights groups say.
He is the fourth known activist to get an unusually lengthy jail sentence in the space of seven weeks, as China enters a sensitive time ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition due to take place in the autumn.
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