China sentences 3 to suspended terms over labor activism

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A court in southern China's industrial heartland has sentenced three labor organizers who led strikes to suspended prison sentences.

The three had worked at a labor rights center that had continued operating after authorities officially closed it in 2007.

One of the defendants, Zeng Feiyang, was handed a four-year suspended sentence Monday, while Tang Huanxing and Zhu Xiaomei were each given 18-month suspended sentences.

The Panyu District court said the defendants "ignored national laws and organized mass gatherings that disturbed social order."

It said their actions resulted in severe economic losses to the companies involved.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday that Tang had been responsible for the organization's publicity, while Zhu handled relations with workers who had migrated from other parts of China.