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Beijing Airport 'Bomber' Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

A Chinese court has sentenced a man to six years in jail for setting off an explosive device at Beijing's airport as a way to draw attention to his grievances against the government.

On Tuesday, the Beijing Chaoyang District Court found Ji Zhongxing guilty of intentionally causing the July explosion, which the court described as a major threat to public safety.

The former motorcycle taxi driver was the only person injured by the homemade explosive device, which he set off in the the airport's terminal after warning passersby to move away.

Lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan, who represented Ji, told VOA's Mandarin service the sentence was too severe.

"Even if he is found guilty of creating an intentional explosion, I think, it is too harsh a penalty. The case has its special circumstances. He was beaten and disabled but has been denied at the local police, government offices, courthouses, and everywhere he went to seek justice for eight years. Finally, he brought a home-made explosive device to the airport, not to blow up the airport or hurt innocent people, but to draw attention."

His brother (Ji Zhongji) tells VOA the family will appeal the verdict.

The 34-year-old was seeking to raise awareness over a 2005 attack in the southern city of Dongguan, during which he says police severely beat him, leaving him wheelchair bound.

Ji's case has drawn sympathy from some Chinese Internet users who accuse Beijing of ignoring low-level, official abuse against the powerless and marginalized in Chinese society.

During the approximately month-long trial, Ji, who appeared in court on a stretcher, asked the judge to give him "another chance." His lawyer said he is considering an appeal.

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