[JURIST] Prominent Chinese rights activist Liu Xiaobo was tried Wednesday on charges of inciting subversion. The trial lasted only two hours and was closed to foreign diplomats. Liu, who spent two years in prison following the Tiananmen Square [BBC backgrounder] uprising, has long challenged China's one-party rule, and co-authored Charter 08 [text], a petition calling for political reforms in the country. Liu was formally arrested in June and charged [JURIST reports] earlier this month, but he has been in detention since last December, shortly before the petition's release. Other organizers of the Charter 08 movement have asked that Liu's sentence be shared with them [Reuters report]. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison. A verdict is expected on Friday.
In June, rights groups marked the 20th anniversary of the 1989 uprising in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, calling for the government to investigate the incident [JURIST report] and implement changes called for by Charter 08. More recently, China was criticized for an increase in political arrests [press release; JURIST report] leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including the trial of dissident Hu Jia and the conviction [JURIST reports] of Yang Chunlin [AI profile] for the same "subversion" crime with which Liu is charged.