Chinese man’s subversion trial to start this week

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BEIJING (AP) — The long-awaited subversion trial of a high-profile Chinese dissident who has called for greater civil rights in the country and an end to the Communist Party’s political dominance will start in a few days, the man’s lawyer said Sunday.

Liu Xiaobo was detained a year ago just before the release of an unusually direct appeal he co-authored that called for sweeping political reforms. Liu, a literary critic and former university professor, previously spent 20 months in jail for joining the 1989 student-led protests in Tiananmen Square.

Liu’s case has attracted international attention, with the United States and European Union urging Beijing to free him. China has rejected those calls.

Lawyer Shang Baojun said police told him Liu’s trial will open Wednesday at the No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing. He said Liu plans to plead not guilty.

The trial was likely to be open to the public, Shang said.

The investigators report says Liu incited to subvert state power with several essays he posted online and by helping co-author the Charter 08 appeal calling for reform, Shang said. The vaguely worded charge is routinely used to jail dissidents and carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, says she has not seen or spoken to her husband since March when police arranged a short, supervised meeting for the couple in a Beijing hotel room. She said Sunday that she hopes authorities will free her husband soon or convict him quickly so she can at least be allowed regular visits.

“I hope the people can see how the court tries this case,” Liu Xia said.

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