Thu, 07 Jul 2022

Beijing [China], June 24 (ANI): China is putting two prominent civil rights activists, Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, through closed-door trials this week for state subversion, media reports said.

With the security situation and secrecy in mind, no one was allowed to attend Xu's trial held in Shandong province on Wednesday. So far, no information relating to the court proceeding has been made public.

Xu, 49 is one of China's most prominent activists and human rights advocates. He was a co-founder of the now-banned legal aid center Open Constitution Initiative and the New Citizens' Movement, a nongovernmental group advocating for civil rights, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In 2009, Xu was forced to disband the Open Constitution Initiative, the legal aid center he helped set up, after police detained him and a co-worker in a trumped-up case of tax evasion.

From 2014 to 2018, Xu served four years in prison for "gathering a crowd to disrupt public order" after a series of small-scale protests by members of the nongovernmental New Citizens' Movement, an initiative he cofounded in 2012 to develop civil society in China within the confines of the one-party political system.

Besides Xu, Ding's case is scheduled to be heard in the same court on Friday.

Ding Jiaxi, 54, is a lawyer and a prominent figure within the New Citizens Movement which campaigned for greater transparency among Chinese Communist Party officials. In 2012 and 2013, he participated in a number of small protests in Beijing calling on Chinese officials to reveal their personal assets.

Earlier this month, a municipal court in Shandong issued a notice to the defence lawyer of human rights defender Ding Jiaxi, inviting the lawyer to a pre-trial meeting. The notice indicated that the case of Ding Jiaxi, who is charged with "subversion of State power", involves "a large amount of evidentiary materials" and is "major and complicated".

Xu and Ding have been advocates for civil rights in the country where authorities have been crushing any form of dissent. (ANI)

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