A high-profile Chinese activist has gone on trial in Beijing, accused of organizing protests against official corruption, his lawyer told CNN.
Xu Zhiyong is accused of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order” after a series of small protests when demonstrators unfurled banners in Beijing calling for officials to publicly declare their assets, lawyer Zhang Qingfang said.
Xu founded the New Citizens Movement, which calls for official transparency and rule of law.
He did not recognize the legitimacy of the prosecution’s case and would remain silent in court, Zhang said before the trial began.
The trial has attracted widespread attention and authorities have come down hard on international media covering the case.
A CNN crew was prevented from approaching and filming the court house and CNN’s Beijing correspondent, David McKenzie, was kicked, pushed and punched by Chinese security before being forced into a nearby van.