China to put top human rights lawyer on trial next week

Source: China to put top human rights lawyer on trial next week

One of China’s most celebrated human rights lawyers will face trial next week over comments he posted online which were critical of the ruling Communist Party, his attorney said on Thursday (Dec 10).

Pu Zhiqiang, who has represented labour camp victims and dissident artist Ai Weiwei, was detained a year and a half ago in a nationwide crackdown on dissent.

He faces a maximum eight-year jail sentence on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, his lawyer Mo Shaoping told AFP. Beijing’s Number Two Intermediate People’s Court will consider the evidence – seven posts the lawyer made on a microblog – in a trial Monday, Mo added.

They include messages questioning a state media account of a deadly knife attack blamed on assailants from the mainly Muslim region of Xinjiang, and another accusing Communist Party officials of “lying”.

Pu, 50, is the latest person to be tried in a crackdown on critics of the Communist Party overseen by President Xi Jinping, which has seen hundreds detained and dozens sent to prison.