A prominent U.S.-based Chinese Muslims’a son was sentenced to nine years in jail Tuesday on subversion charges. a state news agency said.
Ablikim Abdureyim was sentenced in Urumqi, capital of the Muslim Xinjiang region in China's far west, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The government says it is fighting an Islamic separatist movement in the region.
Abdureyim's mother, Rebiya Kadeer, once was one of China's most prominent businesswomen but became a critic of the communist government's treatment of Uighurs, Turkic-speaking Muslims in Xinjiang.
She was detained in 1999 and sentenced to eight years in prison, but allowed to leave for the United States in 2005.
Ablikim was convicted of "instigating and engaging in secessionist activities," Xinhua said.
The Urumqi court convicted him of spreading secessionist articles over the Internet, instigating the public against the government and writing articles that distorted China's human rights and ethnic policies, the report said.
He will also be denied political rights for three years, Xinhua said. Under Chinese law, political rights include free speech and the ability to gather or protest.
Abdureyim's two brothers were convicted of tax evasion last year.
Alim Abdureyim was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 500,000 yuan (US$62,500, EUR50,000), while his older brother Kahar was fined 100,000 yuan (US$12,500, EUR10,000) but not jailed.
Kadeer has said the charges are all false and that her sons are innocent.
China claims it is fighting an Islamic separatist movement in Xinjiang, where Uighurs are the dominant ethnic group and refer to the territory as "East Turkestan."
Beijing blames Uighur separatists for sporadic bombings and other violence. The government says the separatists are linked to al-Qaida, but diplomats and foreign experts doubt that.