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Dissident crackdown garners criticism

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Foreign diplomats in Beijing say the government's crackdown on political rights activists is alarming and regretful. Sunday, a court sentenced one of China's most prominent dissidents, Xu Zhiyong, to four years in prison for 'gathering a crowd to disturb public order' after he led a campaign to try and get public officials to disclose their assets and for the rights of rural children to be educated in cities. Monday, diplomats from eight countries were denied entrance to the court proceedings of four more activists who are also being tried. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIRST SECRETARY OF POLITICAL AFFAIRS AT THE EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION TO CHINA, RAPHAEL DROSZEWSKI, SPEAKING "The EU delegation expressed regret at the sentence of four years against Xu Zhiyong, and we have already expressed deep concern, and these sentences have heightened our concern, on the situation of these people who are persecuted for advocating the rule of law, transparency and social justice."

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