US and Germany urged China to free outspoken government critic

Vastavam web: The United States and Germany urged China to free an outspoken government critic known as “Super Vulgar Butcher” today after he was sentenced to eight years in prison.Wu Gan, who refused to plead guilty to charges of “subverting state power”, was yesterday handed one of the harshest punishments meted out to a group of lawyers and activists swept up in a major crackdown two years ago.Wu was taken into custody in May 2015 just weeks before authorities unleashed a ruthless campaign later dubbed the “709” crackdown, rounding up over 200 people involved in activities considered sensitive by the ruling Communist Party.

The outspoken social media figure became the subject of the state’s ire for using his larger-than-life online persona to draw public attention to human rights cases.His lawyer told AFP the harsh sentence was intended as an unmistakable signal to anyone who would dare to challenge the state’s authority.A very different ruling was made with respect to former human rights lawyer Xie Yang, who was exempted from jail after pleading guilty to “inciting subversion of state power”.But the US and Germany also highlighted “allegations of serious mistreatment of Wu Gan and Xie Yang while in detention”, calling on the Chinese authorities “to adhere to procedures established by law”.During his sentencing, Xie denied being tortured, contradicting previous statements.