Chinese dissident Hu Jia was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by the First Intermediate People's Court in Beijing on Thursday, with a one-year withdrawal of political rights for subverting the state.
The verdict said Hu, 34, an unemployed father and the holder of a college degree, libelled the Chinese political and social systems and instigated subversion of the state, which is a crime under Chinese law.
Considering Hu's confession of crime and acceptance of punishment, the court said it had decided the ruling with leniency and announced a less harsh prison sentence.
The court heard that from August 2006 to October 2007, Hu published articles on overseas-run websites, made comments in interviews with foreign media, and repeatedly instigated other people to subvert the state's political power and socialist system.
In his two website articles, "China Political Law-enforcement Organs Create Large-scale Horror ahead of CPC National Congress", and "One Country Doesn't Need Two Systems", Hu spread malicious rumours, and committed libel in an attempt to subvert the state's political power and socialist system, the court said in the verdict.
The articles written by Hu and his interviews were widely relayed by overseas-run websites, the court said.
The court said the verdict was based on articles 105, 56 and 55 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China.
Hu's family was present in the court when his sentence was being pronounced.