One of China’s most prominent dissidents, Liu Xiaobo, has gone on trial on subversion charges causing an outcry at home and abroad over the government’s intolerance of political opponents.
Chinese prosecutors accuse Liu of “inciting subversion of state power” by publishing articles on the internet critical of the ruling communist party.
The US is calling for his release. Gregory May, a US embassy political officer in Beijing said: “We are calling on the government of China to release him immediately and to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens to peacefully express their political views in favour of universally recognised fundamental freedoms including the right to petition one’s government.”
Liu Xiaobo helped to organise the “Charter 08” petition which calls for the democratic restructuring of the one party state.
Liu, who is 53, has become a symbol of opposition to the party which shows no sign of yielding to Western calls to release him and ease restrictions on political critics and human rights activists.