‘Don’t interfere’: China slams US for ‘groundless’ comment on jailing activists

  • PTI, Beijing
  • Updated: Aug 06, 2016 20:03 IST
Li Wenzu, centre, wife of imprisoned lawyer Wang Quanzhang, holds a paper that reads "Release Liu Ermin" stage a protest next to members of foreign diplomats and supporters of a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer and activists outside the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court in northern China's Tianjin Municipality. (AP file photo)

Lashing out at the US for calling jail sentences given to four human rights activists as “politically motivated”, China on Saturday said the American accusations are groundless and constituted interference in its internal affairs.

“The US accusations are groundless and China urged the United States to respect the facts, speak and act cautiously, and stop making irresponsible remarks on the case,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

She said that China firmly opposes American interference in its internal affairs and judicial sovereignty.

Hua was commenting on the remarks made by US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner concerning the conviction of four Chinese human rights activists.

Toner had said the charges against the activists were “vague and apparently politically motivated” and urged Chinese officials to release the detainees and remove restrictions on their freedom of movement and professional activities.

“China is a country under the rule of law, and Chinese judicial authorities deal with related cases in accordance with law so that the legitimate rights and interests of defendants could be effectively protected,” Hua was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

She claimed that Chinese people widely supported the trial and generally oppose any actions that endanger the national security and undermine the social stability.

A court in Tianjin had convicted them for subverting state power after serial trials in the past four days.

Of the four, Hu Shigen, described by the state media as an illegal church leader, got the longest prison term of seven and half years. He is the eldest at 61 and had engaged in state power subversion since the 1990s, Xinhua said.

All of them accepted the charges and expressed remorse, it said.

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