Top Chinese Dissident Goes on Trial

Liu Xiaobo accused of writing document calling for political reform
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2009 8:21 AM CST
Top Chinese Dissident Goes on Trial
Chinese police officers and plainclothes personnel force a petitioner into a car outside the No. 1 Intermediate People's Court where Liu Xiaobo is being tried in Beijing, Dec. 23, 2009.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Liu Xiaobo, one of the Chinese government’s top critics, went on trial today in Beijing, for, unsurprisingly, criticizing the government. Charged with “inciting subversion of state power,” Liu pleaded not guilty, but the trial lasted just two hours, the Times reports. The verdict, and sentence, are scheduled to be handed down on Christmas Day, with Liu facing up to 15 years in prison.

Liu was arrested last year after circulating a petition calling for political reform in China—a petition that, ironically, called for subversion to be removed from China’s criminal code. Authorities have visited the petition’s 300 signatories, and warned them not to voice support for Liu. US and EU diplomats have decried the trial as politically motivated, but China called that criticism “unacceptable,” and barred them from the trial. (More China stories.)

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