Prominent Chinese Rights Lawyer Get Suspended 3-Year Sentence

China's official Xinhua news agency says a Beijing court has given a prominent rights lawyer a suspended three-year prison sentence for subversion.

Xinhua says the ruling means Gao Zhisheng can walk free, but will have to serve the prison term if he is convicted of any crime within the next five years.

Gao's political rights have also been suspended for one year, meaning he cannot speak to reporters.

Gao was taken into custody in August and formally arrested in September.

The 42-year old Beijing-based attorney is one of China's best-known dissidents. Gao made a name for himself and angered authorities by representing religious activists and farmers with land disputes.

Chinese lawyers face tighter scrutiny under recent regulations. They require lawyers to submit to government supervision when they represent clients in cases deemed politically sensitive.