Veteran Chinese democracy activist sentenced to two years in prison

Veteran Chinese democracy activist Zhu Yufu was sentenced to two years in prison following an altercation with police in which both he and his son were allegedly beaten, the man's lawyer said Friday.

Zhu, 54, was sentenced Tuesday by the Shangcheng District court in the eastern city of Hangzhou on charges of attacking police and interfering in public duties, said Mo Shaoping.

Zhu's son, Zhu Ang, was given a suspended one-year sentence on the same charges, Mo said.

"I think the sentence is completely unfair. Zhu Yufu should not be sentenced to jail at all," Mo, who frequently represents political dissidents, said in a telephone interview.

He said he planned to appeal but was still considering a legal strategy.

Father and son were arrested on May 18, a month after an incident in which police stopped them outside their apartment, demanding to know the whereabouts of another activist they suspected was staying at Zhu's home, according to Mo and the overseas-based China Human Rights Defenders, a network of activists and rights monitoring groups.

As Zhu Yufu attempted to reach the other man by cell phone, a struggled broke out between Zhu Ang and police, during which Zhu Ang knocked a policeman's tooth out with his head, they said. Police then struck Zhu Ang in the head, prompting Zhu Yufu to shove the office away from his son. Security camera footage of the incident was played in court, according to Mo and the groups.

A telephone operator at the court said no one was immediately available to comment.

A participant in decades of pro-democracy campaigning, Zhu's most recent prior arrest came in June 1999 following attempts to register a would-be opposition group, the China Democracy Party.

He was released last year after a seven-year sentence for subversion and vowed to continue exposing official abuses.

China's communist rulers allow no organized challenges to their iron grip on power and carry out regular arrests of social and political activists.