• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Chinese activist silent as trial starts

PROMINENT Chinese rights advocate Xu Zhiyong has gone on trial in the country's most high-profile dissident case in years but his lawyer said he refused to offer any defence and called the court unjust.

Outside the courtroom, Mr Xu's supporters chanted slogans and raised banners in his support. Police pushed away the crowd and at least three protesters were held.

The Government has waged a 10-month drive against Mr Xu's New Citizens' Movement which advocates working within the system to press for change, including urging officials to disclose assets.

The campaign against the movement exposes the ambivalence in Beijing's bid to root out corruption as the authorities claim greater transparency.

Mr Xu, 40, is charged with "gathering a crowd to disturb public order", punishable by up to five years in prison. His prosecution will likely spark fresh criticism from Western governments over Beijing's crackdown on dissent.

Mr Xu's lawyer Zhang Qingfang said his client told the judge: "This court is not just so I will maintain my silence."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

207533