[JURIST] Chinese prosecutors plan to proceed to trial against human rights activist Hu Jia and the trial could begin within a month, a defense lawyer for Hu said Saturday. Hu was formally charged last month with inciting subversion of state power after he made public [JURIST reports] letters and recordings from Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng alleging that Gao was tortured into confessing to subversion charges. Reporters Without Borders has called for Hu's release [press release], saying that "the political police have taken advantage of the international community's focus on Pakistan to arrest one of the foremost representatives of the peaceful struggle for free expression in China." Reuters has more.
Also Saturday, Teng Biao, a lawyer who has defended political dissidents and is a Hu supporter, was released by the Chinese government after spending two days in custody. Teng's whereabouts had been unknown [JURIST report] since Thursday evening when witnesses reported seeing an unidentified man, believed to be Teng, dragged into an unmarked vehicle. In September 2007, Teng and Hu wrote an open letter [text] requesting that the international community investigate China's promises to improve its human rights record. In November 2007, rights group Dui Hua reported that the number of political arrests in China more than doubled in 2006 and the country as seen harsh criticism in recent months for cracking down on human rights activists and political dissidents [JURIST reports] ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Reuters has more.