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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chinese Dissident Leaves Vladivostok for New York

HONG KONG -- Dissident Xie Wanjun, a member of the banned China Democratic Party who escaped to Russia in April, has arrived in New York, a Hong Kong-based rights group said.

Russia did not allow Xie to leave for the U.S. during the conflict in Yugoslavia, the Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said Sunday.

With the improvement of U.S.-Chinese relations, Russia permitted Xie to leave for New York, the group said.

He was sheltered by U.S. Embassy officials in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok during that time.

China broadened a crackdown on the China Democratic Party ahead of the 50th anniversary of Communist Party rule by sentencing two organizers of the outlawed pro-democracy party to eight and nine years in jail Monday.

The No. 1 Intermediate People's Court in Beijing convicted Zha Jianguo and Gao Hongming of subverting state power, said Zha Huiyi, Zha's 23-year-old daughter, who attended the four-hour hearing.

Zha was sentenced to nine years imprisonment and Gao to eight, she and a court spokesman, Chen Xiong, said. Both men planned to appeal, the daughter added, though dissident appeals are invariably rejected.

Since imprisoning the China Democracy Party's leaders late last year, Chinese authorities have broadened their crackdown to include lower-level organizers in the group.

Including Zha and Gao, at least seven party members have been sentenced on subversion charges since early May, and another 20 could be sentenced later this month, a Hong Kong-based dissident monitoring group said Monday.