A Chinese court convicted democracy activist Liu Xiaobo of subversion and sentenced him to 11 years on Friday in a powerful demonstration of the government's authoritarian grip on its citizens. Liu, a 53-year-old former professor of literature, had drafted a petition in 2008 demanding free speech, free elections, and the rule of law only to be arrested the same year in response. “Persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of political views is inconsistent with internationally recognized norms of human rights,” the first secretary with the American embassy, Gregory May told the New York Times, calling for his release. Liu's lawyer said that after being held in secret for more than a year, he was given less than two weeks to prepare his defense with an attorney ahead of his trial. Liu was previously jailed for 21 months for taking part in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, which ended with a violent crackdown, and later served three years in a labor camp for demanding the release of other prisoners.