A court in China sentenced on Monday a veteran dissident, Chen Xi, to 10 years in jail for subversion, his wife said -- the heaviest sentence given for political charges since Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo was jailed two years ago.

The court in Guiyang, southwest China, swiftly tried Chen and declared him guilty of inciting subversion of state power, and said he deserved a tough sentence of a decade in prison, his wife, Zhang Qunxuan told Reuters.

The judge said this was a major crime that had a malign impact and he was a repeated offender, Zhang said by telephone.

When the court announced the verdict, Chen Xi said he would bow to the decision and would not appeal, but insisted that he was innocent, she added.

The court ignored all the points raised by the defence lawyer at the trial, so what point is there in appealing?, said Zhang.

Chen Xi, 57, was convicted over 36 essays critical of the ruling Communist Party that he published on overseas Chinese websites, said Zhang. The sentence could not be immediately confirmed with the Guiyang People's Intermediate Court.

Inciting subversion is a charge often used to punish dissidents critical of the ruling Communist Party.

The long sentence comes days after another dissident -- Chen Wei from Sichuan province in southwest China -- was jailed for nine years on similar charges of inciting subversion. Chen in a common family name in China, and the two men are not related.

Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, was convicted on December 25, 2009, and jailed for 11 years for inciting subversion.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Robert Birsel)