Chen Xi is a veteran dissident. He was first jailed after he participated in the 1989 pro-democracy protests. He received a sentence of three years. Later he received another ten year sentence for counter-revolutionary offenses.
The Chinese authorities have no sense of irony. The Chinese government whose court passed the sentence has managed the transition of China from communism to capitalism but Chen Xi is supposed to be the counter-revolutionary. If Mao were in power the whole gang of them would probably be sent off for re-education at the very least.
The court noted that Xi was a repeat offender and that the crime was serious. What was his crime? He wrote 36 essays critical of the regime and posted them on line. The court said the essays constituted incitement to subvert state power. No doubt Chen Xi is also being punished because he was active in a local human rights group that reported on violations of human rights by authorities.
Only three days earlier another veteran dissident Chen Wei received a nine year sentence for the exact same offense. No doubt the Chinese government fears that the Arab spring uprising might inspire protests against the government in China. Repression is alive and well in China. For more see this article.