The members of the "New Citizens' Movement," were arrested after holding banners urging a disclosure of assets by officials. Although a campaign against government corruption is in progress in China, the government is seen as intolerant of grassroots groups seeking the same goals.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping launched the anti-corruption campaign in 2012, but has also led a crackdown on citizens' activism. Other members of the New Citizens' Movement, aiming for greater democracy and government transparency, have been detained by police.
Wei Zhongping, Liu Ping and Li Sihua were convicted, after a trial last year in Xinyu, Jiangxi province, of "creating a disturbance," a charge with a broad legal interpretation.
Liu and Wei were also convicted of "gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place" and "using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement," the human rights organization Amnesty International said. The organization added it considered the three "prisoners of conscience" in demanding their immediate release.
Wei and Liu received six-and-one-half year sentences. Li received a shorter jail term.