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In a secretive trial lasting less than four hours, China today convicted a top leader of the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests of trying to overthrow the communist government.

Wang Dan, 27, was found guilty of "conspiring to subvert the Chinese government" and sentenced to 11 years in prison, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said.

The guilty verdict was almost a foregone conclusion -- most criminal trials in China result in convictions.

Xinhua said Wang, who spent 3 1/2 years in prison for his 1989 activities, had violated his parole, colluded with hostile overseas organizations and endangered state security. He apparently committed those crimes by writing essays critical of the government, aiding other dissidents in financial difficulties and accepting aid from overseas.

The government has all but crushed the dissident movement in recent years. It has tried and sentenced most activists to prison or detained them for up to three years in labor camps without trials.

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