Human rights groups had said Xue faced up to 10 years in jail and three others he was in contact with had also been arrested and tried for subversion, in Liaoning, Hunan and Hubei provinces. The rulings on those cases could not immediately be found.
China allows a small number of officially recognised parties, although they serve as advisers to, rather than competitors with, the ruling Communist party.
Xue’s lawyers argued their client was not guilty because becoming a member of a political party did not amount to subversion, according to court documents posted on the website of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders group… “Since I was young I did not like the abuses of the one-party dictatorship and I wanted to establish a party to participate in politics and change the Chinese Communist party’s way of governing,” Xue said during interrogation, according to a submission by the defence.
Founded by dissidents in 1998, the China Democracy party was quashed six months later by the Communists . Dozens of founding members were arrested and sentenced to up to 13 years in prison, most on charges of subverting state power.