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Rights Group Blasts China for 10-Year Prison Sentence of Dissident Writer

A human rights group has blasted China for a 10-year prison sentence handed down to a journalist charged with releasing state secrets related to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

A statement Thursday by New York-based Human Rights in China says the conviction of freelance journalist Shi Tao has raised widespread concern about Beijing's suppression of free speech.

The group said the dissident writer, in an appeal to his conviction last month, contends his sentence was based on illegally obtained evidence. Mr. Shi also says his Internet posting was related to public sentiment, so it could not be considered a state secret. The posting dealt with last June's 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

The human rights group called on the international community to pressure China to release Shi Tao and all dissidents imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their views.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.