Chinese Dissident Sentenced to 11 Years བོད་སྐད།

A lawyer for prominent Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo says his client was convicted of subversion Friday and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Liu was being tried for co-authoring a petition calling for political reform in the tightly ruled country.

Rights groups suspect the date of the verdict, Christmas day, was chosen to reduce international attention to the case.

Diplomats from the United States, Canada, Australia and several European countries were among those who stood outside during Liu's trial Wednesday, after they were denied entry to the court house.

China has denounced the foreign diplomats for what it calls "meddling." Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters Thursday that Liu is a Chinese citizen and, as a result, his case is an "internal" affair.

Liu has been in detention for more than a year for his role in writing the pro-democracy manifesto called "Charter 08."

The U.S. State Department said Wednesday that China's prosecution of Liu is an action "uncharacteristic of a great country." A State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, said the U.S. will continue to have frank discussions with China about human rights and China's future.

The case has also drawn condemnation from the European Union.

Liu is an outspoken former university professor who has advocated for greater political freedom in China for two decades. He spent nearly two years in detention after the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters