China 'Detains' Democracy Advocate Again

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BEIJING - A Chinese democracy activist who has already spent a decade in prison has been detained again, a human rights group said Wednesday.

Liu Xianbin was taken into custody by police in Suining city in southwestern Sichuan on Monday and charged with "subversion of state power," according to a detention notice given to his wife, the China-based group Chinese Human Rights Defenders said in a statement.

More than a dozen police officers from the Suining public security bureau raided Liu's home on Monday, confiscating his computer hard drives and documents that showed payments he received for articles published on pro-democracy websites overseas, the group said.

His wife, Chen Minxian, and 13-year-old daughter were questioned by police the following day.

Calls to the Suining police rang unanswered Wednesday.

China Democracy Party

Liu, 42, had been a founding member of the China Democracy Party and was convicted in August 1999 of subversion of state power. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He was released in November 2008 after serving nearly all his sentence.

Liu remained dedicated to activism after his release, becoming involved in several high-profile human rights activities, the statement said.

He was a signatory to the Charter 08 manifesto, which called for an end to single-party rule and advocated democratic political reforms. He also wrote articles on human rights and joined efforts calling for the release of imprisoned activitists.

Chinese authorities have cracked down hard on supporters of Charter 08. Its co-author Liu Xiaobo was sentenced in December to 11 years in prison for incitement to subvert state power. Others who supported Charter 08 have also been harassed by authorities.

Liu Xianbin has been a longtime proponent of democracy since his participation during the 1989 pro-democracy protests. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in 1992 for that.

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© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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