Did You Know
Did You Know
A Beijing court has convicted a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer for online comments, giving him a suspended jail sentence, state television said.
Pu Zhiqiang has been found guilty of"inciting ethnic hatred" and "picking quarrels" on his social media posts.
The court sentenced him to three years in prison but also said the sentence would be suspended.
Pu is the latest to be tried in a crackdown on dissidents in China.
It remains unclear if Pu would be freed from detention immediately. Correspondents say that the sentencing could mean that Pu is monitored during the suspension period, with the possibility of a reduced sentence if he demonstrates good behaviour.
Pu has been in detention since May 2014, after he posted several messages on microblogging platform Weibo critical of the government.
He had questioned the "excessively violent" crackdown on Uighurs in the restive Xinjiang region. He also alleged the Chinese Communist Party was an untruthful party, and mocked government rhetoric over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands which are also claimed by Japan.
Supporters believe his arrest was politically motivated and an attempt to clamp down on the vocal lawyer's criticism.
Prior to the sentencing, a small group of activists and foreign journalists gathered in front of the court.
There were brief scuffles with the police in a repeat of scenes seen last week during Pu's one-day trial.
A BBC team witnessed activists and journalists being dragged away by dozens of plainclothes policemen.
On 14 December during a brief trial, police scuffled with foreign journalists, diplomats and protesters who were barred from entering court proceedings.
His family said he had pleaded not guilty to all charges, but no verdict was given at that time. His wife was allowed to attend the trial which lasted about three hours.
At the scene: Stephen Evans, BBC News, BeijingPu Zhiqiang is something of a celebrity as a lawyer. He's a big, bear-like man with a baritone voice who has defended a range of causes, especially those involving freedom of speech and detention in labour camps.
He mixes popular street speech with allusions to classical literature in a powerful rhetorical fashion. "Feisty" is an adjective often used to describe him.
He has also been a thorn in the side of the authorities since his imprisonment in 1989 as a student pro-democracy protester.
His defenders say his current treatment is not because of the content of the seven posts on social media cited by the authorities. Rather, they say, it is to send a warning to dissidents - and the lawyers of dissidents.
As one government critic is quoted as saying: "The authorities are doing this because they want people to feel that their fingers are loaded with weight when they type on a keyboard."
Pu has been was detained after he attended an event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. He participated in the Tiananmen protests as a student.
His family and lawyer told reporters that although Pu had lost a lot of weight and his hair had turned grey, he appeared to be in good health and had an alert mind.
International rights groups have described Pu's case as political persecution. Amnesty International says there have been "repeated procedural irregularities" in his prosecution.
Pu Zhiqiang represented artist Ai Weiwei in a tax evasion case that critics complained was politically motivated. He also campaigned for the eventualabolition of the labour camp system, under which suspects could be detained for years without trial.