The judge adds an extra 'crime' to the charge sheet at the last minute, while two fellow activists are handed shorter terms.
The clashes came after angry sugar cane farmers blocked a road with trucks in protest at alleged official corruption.
Experts say the existing system needs to change and will continue to be vulnerable to corrupt officials.
Yang Lin helped people lodge complaints against China's ruling Communist Party after laboring as a migrant worker.
The sisters of Zhang Liumao say they are being pursued after they asked tough questions about their brother's death in a detention center.
Last year's pro-democracy movement has boosted turnout and spurred the rise of a younger generation of politicians in the city.
Guo and his fellow activists have waited nearly a year since the trial for a verdict to be passed.
Petitioners who tried to visit his grave are turned away amid a strong police presence.
While information on the recent terrorist attacks has been widely available, Internet access gets harder in Xinjiang.
The two men were arrested after showing public support for last year's pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong.
Sources say the two activists have flown back to China aboard a jet chartered by the Chinese authorities.
Meanwhile, torture victims and lawyers are prevented from traveling to Geneva to give evidence to a UN committee on torture.
Former columnist Li Xin reveals some of the inner workings of Chinese state censorship after fleeing the country.
Relatives and a lawyer say Zhang Liumao's body sustained multiple injuries, as Beijing's record on torture is reviewed at the UN.
The two activists had been granted refugee status by UNHCR, which was unable to protect them from Beijing.
One is accused of using online satire to 'bring down the government,' while the other remains silent in court as a form of protest.
According to Greenpeace, there is falling demand for coal as the ruling Chinese Communist Party pledges to meet renewable energy targets.